The Suwannee River Wilderness Trail is an incredible natural resource located in the heart of Florida spanning over 100 miles, enabling visitors to explore the diverse and unique ecosystems of the Suwannee River and the surrounding area. With an extensive history and ancient sites, the trail is a popular destination for both locals and visitors. Along the way, hikers and paddlers can explore the rich plant and animal life found throughout the region, and experience cool clear water of some of Florida's largest springs.
The Suwannee River Wilderness Trail is a historic waterway following the Suwannee River from White Springs to the gulf coast town of Suwannee, with the most popular paddling portions running from White Springs to Branford. The area was first explored by William Bartram in the 1700s, who described the river and its beauty in his book, “Travels of William Bartram.” The trail is an important part of Florida’s history, as it was used by Native Americans, early settlers, and travelers during the 1800s. The trail is also significant for its natural beauty, as it passes through a variety of ecosystems, including cypress swamps, hardwood hammocks, and sandhill habitats. In the 1990s, the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail was designated as a National Recreation Trail, providing a safe and accessible route for outdoor recreation.
The Trail's unique and diverse ecosystem is home to a variety of animal species. In addition to being one of the last refuges for gulf sturgeon the river is home to popular game fish including black bass, redbreast sunfish, black crappie, bullheads and channel catfish. Reptiles such as eastern fence lizard, pine snake, and gopher tortoises can be found along the trail, while mammalian species include bobcats, white-tailed deer, and black bears also call the area home. The trail supports a rich bird life, with species such as wood ducks, wild turkeys, and barred owls.
A unique feature making the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail ideal for overnight trips are the prevalence of parks and river camps along the way. Roughly every 10 miles there is a park or river camp allowing for pullout and a good night's rest. While many of the park's charge a modest fee to spend the night, the river camps are free and can be occupied on a first come first served basis. Each river camp provides multiple fully screen enclosed shelters that can sleep about eight people comfortably. The no frills shelters have wood floors, a fan, and electricity. The camps also provide fire pits, large picnic shelters, bathrooms and showers.
From May 3-7 the Under Pressure Outdoors Nation will host the 5th Annual Suwannee River Fishing Expedition. The Expedition is a 5 day/4 night 50 mile downstream paddling trip putting in at Suwannee River State Park and pulling out at the city of Branford. For more information visit the Facebook event page at https://fb.me/e/2UQIB12Dk?mibextid=RQdjaZ