By Kevin Mims
If you're headed to Rocky Bayou State Park in Niceville, make sure to spend some time on the park's fantastic network of Florida nature trails.
There are three loops: the Rocky Bayou Nature Trail, the Sand Pine Trail and the Red Cedar Trail, each offering a unique look at the variety of flora and fauna that can be found at Rocky Bayou State Park. Do them all, and you've only hiked a little over three miles, perfect for an early morning or evening stroll.
1. Rocky Bayou Nature Trail
The Rocky Bayou Nature Trail and the Sand Pine Trail are both located near the campground, where you'll cross a small bridge over the former Puddin' Head Lake. A Nature Conservancy project helped restore this rare freshwater steephead stream habitat that flows into Rocky Bayou.
2. Sand Pine Trail
Take the Sand Pine Trail to follow along the stream, or head out on the Rocky Bayou Nature Trail for scenic views of Rocky Bayou.
3. Red Cedar Trail
Just like the name implies, the Red Cedar Trail is a walk through a habitat that features an overstory of red cedars, mixed with pines and other species. This trail is located over toward the day use area of the park.
Get out and do some exploration and hiking in Florida. If you find yourself in Northwest Florida, swing by Rocky Bayou State Park and hit the trails.
For more information, visit www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/fred-gannon-rocky-bayou-state-park
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