St. Joseph Peninsula SP Wilderness Trail

Posted By on January 25, 2018

St. Joseph Peninsula SP Wilderness Trail

7.93 miles; Port St. Joe, FL

Eight miles hiked, and I didn’t even get to finish. The entire out-and-back trail is 8 miles one way. I got to about the 4-mile mark, and while I felt as though I could keep going, I also knew I was going to regret doing even this much in this thick, soft sugar-sand, never mind the entire 16 miles. I was correct. This one HURT.

Sign at the Trail Head

Sign at the Trail Head

Okay, Florida, I get it. Besides tortuous trails of deep soft beach sand, you have a lot of things out there that want to eat me. Fine.

The Trail

The Trail

I hiked in this State Park once before, but it was just a small, short Nature Trail. On that trip, which was almost exactly 4 years ago to the day, I managed a whole almost 3 miles. To access this much longer Wilderness Trail, you have to request a special permit from the Ranger Station at the park entrance.

Yup. 'Shrooms.

Yup. ‘Shrooms.

There were a lot of mushrooms out here. I saw at least 5 different kinds, including this funky black thing. They’re small, and from standing height they look like bits of tar or asphalt scattered on the trail.

Primitive Campsite

Primitive Campsite

There are 7 primitive campsites off of this trail. And they make the ones on St. George’s Island look positively luxurious! These are pretty bare bones.

Tracks

Raccoon Tracks

I’ll say one thing for this fine sand… it may not be easy to walk in but it shows tracks almost as well as snow does. I saw many different tracks, including lots of deer, birds, and canids (not sure whether these were leashed dogs or actual foxes or coyotes). And you can bet I kept an eye out for alligator tracks! [Note to self: Google “alligator tracks.”]

Gnarly!

Gnarly!

There were quite a few trees out here, mostly evergreens, but they were, as you might expect considering they’re way out on a peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico and St. Joseph’s Bay, bent and twisted into some pretty interesting shapes.

Grass-like Stuff

Grass-like Stuff

This was a really lovely trail, and if I could have arranged to have a boat at the end pick me up to take me back to the trail head, I would have loved to have hiked the whole thing. Short of that, four miles was the best I could do and still get back. And that with a large amount of whimpering and self-pity.

You can learn more about this trail from the state website for the park, here. As always, click the image above for details about this hike and to download the gps track.

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