32.3 miles (Navarre Beach & Pensacola Beach). The Seashore section, which also includes the Pensacola Bike Path, the Navarre Bike Path, and the wild and scenic UWF Dunes Preserve, is the only National Scenic Trail section along a beach. The Florida Trail leads you onto the sparkling shores of Santa Rosa Island, a barrier island along the Gulf of Mexico between Navarre and Pensacola. This is one of the most beautiful beaches in Florida. The glistening sugar-white sands of Santa Rosa Island are a counterpoint to the emerald sea as you approach trail’s end, the northern terminus at Fort Pickens on Pensacola Bay, a fitting place to complete a grand adventure.
- HURRICANE MICHAEL IMPACTS While the Fort Pickens Unit of Gulf Islands National Seashore has reopened, the section of the seashore between Pensacola Beach and Santa Rosa Island is officially closed because CR 399 once again washed away. It may take up to three months for this piece of the trail to reopen. This impacts trail mile 1074.3 (Navarre at US 98) to 1094.2 (Pensacola Beach Blvd), or 19.9 miles of the Florida Trail.
- As thru-hikers learned last season after Hurricane Nate, don’t try to sneak through Gulf Islands National Seashore between Navarre Beach and Pensacola Beach, even though the beach is still there. Last season, NPS posted a guard to prevent access to the National Seashore. This FTA Notice to Hikers outlines a potential alternative route using US 98 west from Navarre.
FT symbols indicate trailheads and access points. Click on symbols for details and directions.
Florida Trail, Navarre
4.6 miles. Heading south from the East Bay trailhead, this segment of the trail is along sidewalks paralleling SR 87 through Navarre, with a crosswalk to Navarre Park. Taking the pedestrian walkway across the Navarre Causeway, you get your first glimpse of the Gulf of Mexico.
Florida Trail, Navarre Bicycle Path
3.5 miles. Passing by the Navarre Beach Pier – worth the cheap price of admission for the views – the Florida Trail sticks to the paved bicycle path through residential Navarre Beach.
Florida Trail, Santa Rosa Area
7.1 miles. West of Navarre Beach, the Florida Trail takes to the natural, uncluttered oceanfront in Gulf Islands National Seashore. The easiest hiking is in the moist but hard-packed upper tidal line, and the views go on forever on this windswept stretch of beach. There are restrooms, picnic tables, and water at Opal Beach.
3.4 miles. Switching to the bay side of the island, the Florida Trail leads you on a challenging scramble of dunes with scenic views of bay and ocean and offers a hidden campsite along the route.
Florida Trail, Pensacola Beach Trail
6.7 miles. Following the Pensacola Beach Trail, a paved bike through busy Pensacola Beach – a big tourist destination, especially for Spring Break – the Florida Trail continues past condos, hotels, and restaurants before reaching the entrance to the Fort Pickens Unit of Gulf Islands National Seashore.
6.9 miles. After nearly 5 miles along its last piece of oceanfront, the finale of the Florida Trail is a linear natural surface path through coastal habitats and past historic structures, ending at Fort Pickens itself.
Blackbird Marsh Trail
0.5 mile. A loop trail off the Florida Trail east of Fort Pickens Campground, the Blackbird Marsh Trail circles marshy ponds where both blackbirds and nesting ospreys are in abundance.