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    Apalachicola National Forest - Camping

    So Much To Do & See

    The Apalachicola National Forest offers water-based recreation such as boating and fishing along the Ochlockonee and Apalachicola Rivers, and swimming in the numerous lakes. Trails and roads accommodate hiking, mountain bike riding, horseback riding, and off road ATV and motorcycle riding. Primitive camping is allowed throughout the Forest; fee campsites provide restrooms and water, picnic tables and fire rings. Hunting for deer is the dominant activity in December and January. Off the beaten path, this Forest offers opportunities for solitude and reflection.

    The fee areas on the Apalachicola National Forest are under the authority of the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program. This program allows 95% of the fees collected to remain on the Forest for use in maintaining or improving the site where it was collected. Fee payment is self-service, but is required and will be enforced.

    Some recreational activities require a pass or permit. Please see Passes & Permits for more information. Check with your local Forest Service office for any special regulations that may be in effect, such as a seasonal fire ban. Click to view rules and regulations.

    Day Use Areas

    The Apalachicola National Forest has three developed picnic and swim areas: Silver Lake, Camel Lake, and Wright Lake Recreation Areas; and two special areas: Fort Gadsden and Leon Sinks.

    Each area is a self-service fee area (exact change or checks accepted). The fee is $3.00 per vehicle. An annual pass for $40 may be purchased, which covers all day use fee areas on the Apalachicola National Forest. No alcoholic beverages are allowed in these areas. Abundant wildlife may be seen in each area, including birds and alligators. All day use areas are open from 8am to 8pm from May to September and from 8am to 6pm from October to April. The annual pass is also valid for day use and camping at Hickory Landing, Mack Landing and Whitehead Lake.

    Camel Lake Recreation Area

    Camel Lake in Liberty County has a designated swim area with a white sand beach on a beautiful lake. A nearby bathhouse includes flush toilets. Outdoor (cold water only) showers for rinsing off are provided. Picnic tables and grills are scattered among trees with views of the lake. One medium sized shelter will be provided on a first come basis. A water fountain and some water spigots are available. The site is fairly level and easily accessible to people in wheelchairs. A small boat ramp is available. Motorized boat use is limited to electric trolling motors. Three trails are nearby: the Florida National Scenic Trail, the Trail of Lakes, and the Camel Lake Interpretive Trail. A volunteer host lives on site. Camping is also available here.

    Fort Gadsden Historical Site

    Fort Gadsden in Franklin County is the site of an historic fort and several battles. Interpretive exhibits and artifacts are displayed along a level pathway on the banks of the Apalachicola River. Picnic tables and vault toilets are available. Drinking water is not available. The area is also accessible by boat.

    Leon Sinks Geological Area

    Leon Sinks in Leon County is a designated Geological Area featuring education, interpretation, and views of sinkholes from a system of boardwalks and trails. Picnic tables, a kiosk, a water fountain, and a restroom with flush toilets are available. There is a $3.00 per vehicle fee.

    The sinks at Leon Sinks are unique, fragile areas with very steep sides. Both humans and dogs have drowned in the sinks. To protect the sinks and avoid these situations, a number of uses are prohibited at Leon Sinks: swimming, diving, motor vehicles (except in the parking area), hunting, mountain biking, horseback riding, and ATV and motorcycle riding.

    Silver Lake Recreation Area

    Silver Lake in Leon County has a designated swim area with a white sand beach on a beautiful lake. A nearby bathhouse includes flush toilets and hot showers. Picnic tables and grills are scattered among trees with views of the lake. One large and one small picnic shelter are available on a first come basis. The smaller shelter is an historic CCC constructed shelter. Water fountains are available. The site is fairly level and easily accessible to people in wheelchairs. A small boat ramp is available. Motorized boat use is limited to electric trolling motors. A one-mile interpretive trail winds around the lake. A volunteer host lives on site. There is no camping available here.

    Wright Lake Recreation Area

    Wright Lake in Franklin County has a designated swim area with a small white sand beach on a beautiful lake. A nearby bathhouse includes flush toilets and hot showers. Picnic tables and grills are scattered among trees with views of the lake. A water fountain is available. The site is fairly level and easily accessible to people in wheelchairs. A 5-mile interpretive trail winds around the lake. A volunteer host lives on site. Camping is also available here.

    Camping

    Camping can be enjoyed during all seasons on the Apalachicola National Forest, although summer camping would be without air conditioning. None of the campgrounds have hook ups and generators may not be run after 10pm. Be aware that at certain times of the year, due to high fire danger, open fires may not allowed. Visitors may stay a maximum of 14 days within a 30-day period, in one location, except during hunting season. Campsites are available on a first come, first served basis; there are no reservations. Pets are allowed, but must be restrained or on a leash.

    The Apalachicola National Forest has developed and dispersed camping opportunities. Only developed campgrounds have fees. There are no group campgrounds or cabins on the Apalachicola National Forest.

    Developed Camping

    There are five designated campgrounds (fee areas): Camel Lake, Hickory Landing, Mack Landing, Whitehead Landing, and Wright Lake.

    Camel Lake Recreation Area

    Camel Lake Recreation Area in Liberty County has 6 campsites with views of Camel Lake. The campsites are $5.00 per night. Each campsite has a picnic table with a grill or fire ring. Drinking water is available. A nearby bathhouse (in the day use area) includes flush toilets. Outdoor (cold water only) showers for rinsing off after swimming are provided. A volunteer host lives on site. Picnicking, swimming, boating, fishing, and hiking opportunities are also available here. No alcohol is allowed on site.

    Hickory Landing Boat Ramp & Hunt Camp

    Hickory Landing in Franklin County has 12 campsites. The campsites are $3.00 per vehicle. Each campsite has a picnic table with a grill or fire ring. Drinking water is available. Vault toilets are provided. A volunteer host lives on site. A concrete boat ramp is available.

    Mack Landing Boat Ramp & Hunt Camp

    Mack Landing in Wakulla County has 6 campsites. The campsites are $3.00 per vehicle. Each campsite has a picnic table with a grill or fire ring. Drinking water is available. Vault toilets are provided. A concrete boat ramp is available.

    Whitehead Landing Boat Ramp & Hunt Camp
    Whitehead Landing in Liberty County has 6 campsites. The campsites are $3.00 per vehicle. Each campsite has a picnic table with a grill or fire ring. Drinking water is available. Vault toilets are provided. A concrete boat ramp is available. Click here for map of the area.

    Wright Lake Recreation Area

    Wright Lake in Franklin County has 20 campsites. The campsites are $8.00 per night. Each campsite has a picnic table and a grill or fire ring. Drinking water is available. A nearby bathhouse includes flush toilets and hot showers. A dump station for RVs is available. Wright Lake is fairly level and easily accessible to people in wheelchairs. A volunteer host lives on site. Picnicking, swimming, boating, fishing, and hiking opportunities are also available here. No alcohol is allowed on site.

    Hunt Camps

    During deer gun hunting season (usually mid-November through mid-February), camping is only allowed at designated hunt camps (see map) and the five designated campgrounds. Portable restrooms and trashcans are provided at most hunt camps and campers may stay the entire season in one hunt camp (from 14 days prior to opening day to 14 days after closing day). Individual permits for dog pens may be purchased from your local Forest Service Office.

    Dispersed Camping

    Except during deer gun hunting season (usually mid-November through mid-February), you may camp anywhere on the Forest (outside of developed recreation areas) for a maximum of 14 days within a 30-day period, in one location. Remember to remove all garbage and trash, leave vegetation intact, and preserve water systems. Please make every effort to maintain the natural state of the area and protect it from overuse.

    Trails

    Bicycling Trails

    Bicycles are welcome on public roads in the Forest, and on the designated mountain bike trail at Munson Hills in Leon County. The public roads are flat, but may be deep sand. Public parking for Munson Hills Trail is available at the St. Marks Bicycle Trailhead on Woodville Highway, just south of Capital Circle. The mountain bike trail is on sandy soil with gently rolling slopes through narrow pine trees. The trail is marked by blue blazes and divided into two loops: an 8-mile loop and a 5-mile loop. A bike rack, water fountain, and restrooms are available near the trail entrance. There are no fees. Click to view a map of the Munson Hills Mountain Bike Trail.

    Hiking Trails

    The Apalachicola National Forest has approximately 85 miles of designated hiking trails, although hikers are welcome anywhere in the Forest. Pets are allowed, but must be restrained or on a leash.

    Sixty four miles of the statewide Florida National Scenic Trail (FNST) (click here for brochure) wind through the diverse ecosystems of the Apalachicola National Forest. The 18 miles through the Bradwell Bay Wilderness Area (swamp) is considered one of the most challenging sections. Numerous trailheads provide access to the trail. The trail is marked with orange blazes. The path is predominantly shaded through flat to rolling terrain. Hikers may camp while backpacking as long as campsites are at least 200 feet from the trail. Backpackers do not need a permit, do not need to check in and there is no fee. Please let your family and friends know your hiking plans, as the Forest Service does not keep track of Forest users.

    The Georgia, Florida and Alabama Trail (GF&A) may be open for use next year. Approximately six miles in Leon County are being constructed at this time. This trail will be a flat, wide, paved trail open to bicycles, skaters, and pedestrians.

    Six interpretive trails have been created on the Apalachicola National Forest. These trails are: Camel Lake (1 mile), Fort Gadsden (1/2 mile), Leon Sinks (5 miles), Silver Lake (1 mile), Trail of Lakes (9 miles), and Wright Lake (5 miles). Camel Lake in Liberty County is marked with blue blazes and is one loop. Fort Gadsden in Franklin County is marked with blue blazes and is one loop. Leon Sinks in Leon County has two loops and has blue, green, and white blazes on different sections. Silver Lake in Leon County is marked with blue blazes and is a single loop. The Trail of Lakes in Liberty County is marked with blue blazes and is a single loop. Wright Lake in Franklin County is marked with blue and white blazes on different sections, but is a single loop.

    Horseback Riding Trails

    The Apalachicola National Forest has one designated horse trail in Leon County, although horse riders are welcome almost anywhere in the Forest (including on public roads). Horses are not allowed on the Florida National Scenic Trail (hiking only) or in developed recreation areas. There are few designated trailheads, so many individuals choose to park alongside a Forest road near where they want to ride. As long as vehicles do not obstruct traffic or destroy natural resources, this is permitted. Camping with horses in the general Forest area is allowed. Horses are also allowed in the primitive hunt camps (no amenities), although cleaning up after the horses is expected and appreciated. There are no fees for horseback riding.

    The Vinzant Horse Trail in Leon County, is the only designated horse trail on the Forest. The trail has 2 loops (which overlap): an 11-mile loop and a 23-mile loop. The trail is marked with white, blue, and yellow blazes on different sections. The trailhead (a mowed field with no amenities) is located near the intersection of Forest Road 342 and State Route 267.


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