The Florida Trail is a subset of a series of trails used to create the Eastern Continental Trail, a hiking route spanning the entire East Coast. First hiked by John Brinda, then popularized by Eb “Nimblewill Nomad” Eberhardt in his book Ten Million Steps, it is a journey on foot of more than 4,000 miles, and it begins right here in Florida. The route includes:
- The Overseas Heritage Trail in the Florida Keys
- The South Dade Greenway
- Roadwalk, levee, and roadwalk to the historic southern terminus of the Florida Trail
- Florida Trail to the Alabama terminus (via the Blackwater section)
- Alabama Hiking Trail (and its roadwalk connectors)
- Pinhoti Trail
- Benton MacKaye Trail
- Appalachian Trail
- International Appalachian Trail
ECT hikers start their hike at the Southernmost Point in the United States, a marker found in Key West at the southernmost spot with public access. From Key West, you follow the Overseas Heritage Trail, of which 3/4 is now a paved bike path, through the Florida Keys. A roadwalk connector gets you to the mainland.
Our 92-page ebook to the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail contains step-by-step details to the hike, including our top picks for hiker services, motels, campgrounds, nature along the way, a map of how to connect to the mainland, and where to find the tiki bars.
You’ll also find a new and expanded 27 page chapter in the Florida Trail Guide covering the entire Eastern Continental Trail route between Key West and Loop Road. It’s heavy on descriptive information once you leave the Florida Keys, and focuses on the basics in the Keys.
It is 206.3 miles between the Southernmost Point in Key West to the Southern Terminus of the Florida Trail at Oasis Visitor Center.
The components of the walk are:
109.2 miles on the Overseas Heritage Trail (bike path & roadwalks)
9.9 miles along US 1 (roadwalk)
35 miles on the South Dade Greenway (levees, unpaved)
10.4 miles along SW 136th St, Krome Ave, and US 41 to Everglades WMA (roadwalk)
10.3 miles in Everglades & Francis Taylor WMA (levees, unpaved)
23.3 miles along US 41 and Loop Rd to the Florida Trail (roadwalk)
8.2 miles along the Roberts Lake Trail (former Florida Trail) to the southern terminus of the Florida Trail at Oasis Visitor Center (footpath)
Selected camping / hostels along the route:
- Seashell Motel and Key West Hostel 305-296-5719, 718 South St
- MM 4 Leo’s Campground 305-296-5260, 5236 Suncrest Rd
- MM 5 Boyd’s Campground 305-294-1465, 6401 Maloney Ave
- MM 20 Sugarloaf Key KOA 305-745-3549, 251 CR 939
- MM 33 Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge 305-872-2351, 33000 Overseas Hwy
- MM 37 Bahia Honda State Park 305-872-2353, 36850 Overseas Highway
- MM 47 Knight’s Key Resort & Campground 800-348-2267, #1 Knights Key Blvd
- MM 68 Long Key State Park, 305-664-4815, 67400 Overseas Hwy
- MM 70 Fiesta Key Resort KOA 305-664-4922, 800-562-7730
- MM 100 Key Largo Campground 305-451-1431 , 101551 Overseas Hwy
- MM 102 John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park 305-451-6300, 102601 Overseas Hwy
- Everglades International Hostel 305-248-1122, 20 SW Second Ave, Florida City 33034
Additional services information and logistics are in The Florida Trail Guide. It’s smart to reserve hostels / campsites / hotels in this area in advance, since winter is the busy season in the Florida Keys. The first two weeks of December have the cheapest rates for hotels in the Keys.