Fortunately a few resources are filling in the many gaps* in my local knowledge. I will forever be thankful to the Florida Trail Association, Northwest Florida Outdoor Adventure, Florida State Parks, and Florida Adventurer (among others) for their efforts in documenting local parks and trails.
One of the names that appears over and over again in local hiking reviews is Torreya State Park.
|Torreya State Park|
The park has well-maintained picnic areas with running water and flush toilets. Trails are well marked with blue or orange blazes. (Orange is the outer loop trail. Blue denotes the connector trails between the loop and various parking, picnic, and camping areas. See map below.) And there are plenty of guidepost signs along the route, as well.
|Guideposts on the trail at Torreya SP|
|Trail at Torreya SP|
|Can you spot the deer in this photo?|
The trail skirts a section of the Apalachicola River, but the bluffs are too steep to make riverbank hiking an option.
|Marker explaining the Confederate history of the park|
|Confederate Gun Emplacement|
Either way, Gregory House, partway through the hike, makes a nice place to stop for lunch or refill a water bottle.
|Apalachicola River, view from Gregory House|
One final note about hiking in northwest Florida...
Every Florida State Park I've been to stocks trail maps in kiosks within the park. Unfortunately the maps are generally not available for download from the state park website, which makes pre-hike planning a bit problematic.
So, here's my contribution to local hiking information: The Torreya State Park Trail Map.
|Torreya State Park Trail Map|
What's your favorite hiking trail?
How do you find out about places to hike or trail run?
*Full disclosure: I still don't feel as confident in the woods here as I did in Southern California, but it's only been two years. I trekked my way through the Southern California backcountry for a decade. After 10 years anything becomes routine.