DescriptionStretching across four northwestern counties, the Apalachicola National Forest is the largest of Florida's three national forests. Its 571,088 acres of varied terrain include pine flatwoods, hardwood hammocks, swamp, rivers, lakes and two wilderness areas: Bradwell Bay and Mud Swamp/New River. Other sites include Leon Sinks, an unusual geological area of caverns and sinkholes, and Fort Gadsden, an outpost along the Apalachicola River dating to the War of 1812. The fort vanished more than a century ago, but interpretive information and artifacts present the colorful history of this strategic location. The first fort on this site was built by the British with help from the Seminole Indians and runaway slaves; it was destroyed in 1816.
Secluded lakes and streams and canoe trails on the Sopchoppy and lower Ochlockonee rivers are popular with canoeists. Several lake areas have campgrounds and hiking trails. Hunting and fishing also are popular activities.
A portion of the 1,300-mile Florida National Scenic Trail passes through the forest, showcasing a wide variety of plants and wildlife native to the area. Hikers may catch glimpses of alligators and such rare and endangered species as the red-cockaded woodpecker, indigo snake and bald eagle.
Further information about the forest can be obtained at the district headquarters offices in Crawfordville, (850) 926-3561, and in Bristol, (850) 643-2282.