Just 45 minutes outside of Tallahassee, in a small town called Bristol, Florida, exists a trail unlike any other in Florida. Dubbed “The Garden of Eden Trail” by E.E. Callaway and believed by some to be the actual site of the Garden of Eden from the Book of Genesis, the area is now managed by The Nature Conservancy. The Garden of Eden Trail leads hikers through the Appalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve with spectacular views of the Appalachicola River.
According to The Nature Conservancy, The Garden of Eden Trail traverses one of the rarest habitats on earth. The 3.75 mile round-trip loop guides hikers through longleaf pine/wiregrass uplands, down dramatic ravines into a thick forest, and across sand hills to the Appalachicola River overlook. Projects are currently underway in the preserve to re-establish the longleaf pine habitat through controlled burning and replanting of seeds with the goal of restoring native plant and wildlife populations. Evidence of the burns through the sand hills creates a dramatic scene of charred logs and longleaf pines in all stages of development.
This past weekend, Camp Folks headed out to The Garden of Eden Trail with eager hikers to enjoy a morning hike through one of Florida’s most prized trails. The Rise and Shine Garden of Eden Day Hike included transportation to the preserve, a day pack rental, and snacks and water for the hike.
As the trail guided us down the ravine, we noticed that there were many downed trees from recent storms hitting North Florida, which had been cleared from the trail. This was a striking sight in an area which is usually thick with hardwoods and brush. Nevertheless, the trail was beautiful and beginning to show signs of Spring. Tiny white and purple flowers lined the path and up above, Yellow Jessamine vines were springing to life with their signature yellow flowers. The hardwoods are just now turning green with newly-formed leaves, and some bushes, like the Florida Anise, already have buds. We even caught glimpses of lizards and beetles digging their way home through the sand.
Needless to say, The Garden of Eden Trail lived up to its namesake once again. If you are looking for a short, challenging day hike head out to Bristol, Florida to hike this truly unique trail. Rising 200 feet in elevation, The Garden of Eden Trail includes some great views, challenging climbs, and breathtaking descents into the forest floor.
For more exciting hikes and outdoor adventure ideas, check out http://campfolks.com/excursions.