That's right – February is Florida Hiking Month, so you should be out on the trail! We've had a really mild winter season so far, with temperatures staying relatively high on the thermometer. Heck, the weather's been so great that you can take a hike and go for a swim afterwards. Try that in other states and see how it goes. Now that I think about it, let's not try that. Moving on.
Seriously, you should get out and explore some during February. Florida's trail system is one of the best in the country, with trails ranging from short nature walks all the way up to grand treks that can span over a thousand miles. Pretty impressive, huh?
Overwhelmed? Not sure where some of the trails are? Not to worry. Here are a few trails around the state to get you started:
The Garden of Eden Trail - Take a 3.5-mile round-trip hike at The Nature Conservancy's Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve. This is a terrific hike for those interested in rare plant and animal species that are only found in a handful of places in Florida. The trail climbs up and down sandhills and arrives at a high bluff on the Apalachicola River. The trail can be found in Liberty County, about an hour west of Tallahassee.
Bulow Woods Trail - Travel over to Flagler and Ormond Beach and hike the 6.8-mile linear Bulow Creek Trail that runs between Bulow Plantation Ruins State Park and Bulow Creek State Park. Bring a friend and shuttle back to your starting point, or make a 13.6-mile round-trip day hike. You'll see the massive Fairchild Oak at Bulow Creek State Park, and make sure to check out the Bulow Plantation Ruins as well.
Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area - Although it's close to Orlando, Tosohatchee WMA seems like a world away. More than 60 miles of trails can be enjoyed at Tosohatchee, and the wildlife viewing is phenomenal. The Florida Trail passes through the management area, and you can create large loop trails combining the multi-use trails – perfect for a weekend of camping and backpacking.
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and Blair Audubon Center - Want to walk through the largest remaining stand of old growth cypress in the state? This 2.25-mile boardwalk will let you experience the swamp while remaining high and dry. Make sure to bring your spotting scopes and cameras along – Corkscrew Swamp is home to an incredible number of orchids, bromeliads and other native plant species. Oh, and the wildlife viewing is incredible, too. Corkscrew Swamp is near Naples, and is considered the jewel in the National Audubon Society crown.
Those should get you started! For more ideas, make sure to visit the trails section of VISITFLORIDA.com for more places to play around the state. See you on the trail!