It’s no secret that Florida is a flat state. There are no mountains and barely any hills from what I’ve seen. I miss mountains a lot more than I thought I would after leaving Arizona but I have not given up on finding some cool hikes here in the sunshine state.
The good news is that Florida does have a handful of state forests and parks that have some great hiking trails. A perfect example is Withlacoochee State Forest located near Dade City. My girlfriend and I made the drive up there from St Petersburg to check it out and were not disappointed.
Withlacoochee State Forest is the third largest state forest in Florida and is home to a variety of tree species. It still surprises me to see pine trees and palm trees growing right along side one another.
The forest also hosts a bunch of different creatures including bald eagles, snakes, black bears, deer, wild boar, bobcats, and alligators. Talk about a wide range of species all calling one place home. The only thing we came across were a few deer and what appeared to be a boar or an armadillo (couldn’t see through the brush).
The forest has a variety of different trails including an all-purpose paved trail. We went with one of the dirt trails that didn’t appear to be on the actual map. It took us through a few miles of marshy land along with a few meadows where we saw the deer. My goal was to hunt down some gators but I didn’t have any luck.
Here are a few pictures from the hike:
One downside was the fact that mosquitos were EVERYWHERE. I don’t think I’ve ever seen mosquitos as thick as they were in the forest and we forget our bug spray (not a good idea). If you decide to check out the forest, make sure to pack some decent spray are you will regret it.
An Observation Tower
Once we looped back to the main trail we came across this observation tower:
After climbing up the tower I was pretty impressed with the view:
A Replica Village
Besides coming across the observation tower, we also found a replica village that had a few different buildings including a cabin, church, and a small general store. Here are a few pictures of the village:
Video From The Hike
Here is a quick video I put together of the hike through Withlacoochee Forest:
I must say I was really impressed with this place. It is one of the coolest place I have come across here in Florida and I definitely plan on going back to check out the gators. If you’re ever in Florida, I highly recommend checking out Withlacoochee State Forest.
Want to see more photos? Check out the complete photo gallery here.