From paddling trails to biking trails to hiking trails, Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties are covered with opportunities to get out and enjoy nature. There are over 183 miles of paddling trails alone! Our trails cover from the beaches to the woodlands, and with a diversity of ecosystems, one in sure to get to see an assortment of plants and animals.
In Escambia County, spend some time getting your exercise while getting a unique perspective of Pensacola Bay while visiting Bay Bluffs Park. Or you could visit Big Lagoon State Park to see wildlife that makes coastal Escambia County their home. A little known trail , the Marcus Point Wetlands Boardwalk is part of the ECUA Bayou Marcus Water Reclamation Facility. This trail spans coastal wetlands near Perdido Bay and is part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail, a 2,000-mile, and self-guided highway trail connecting nearly 500 birding sites throughout Florida. Seventeen known Endangered, Threatened and Species of Special Concern observed at the 1.5 mile Bayou Marcus Wetlands trail. They are American Alligator, Eastern Indigo snake, Gopher tortoise, brown pelican, Lest tern, Pine woods bluestem, Spoon leaf sundew, Pineland bogbutton, Panhandle lily, Southern twayblade, Naked stem panic grass, Yellow butterwort, Chapman’s butterwort, Southern butterwort, Rose pogonia, White-top pitcher plant, and the Parrot pitcher plant. In fact, on many of our trails, hikers will have the opportunity to see rare species in their natural areas due to the protection offered by being on government owned lands.
Santa Rosa County has many options for those wanting to strike out and see nature on foot, boat, bike, or horseback. Santa Rosa is the Canoeing Capitol of Florida, so take advantage of the beautiful blackwater creeks and rivers that run throughout the county. The Florida Hiking Trail and Florida Birding Trail continue through Santa Rosa county, offering visitors an assortment of opportunities to see native flora and fauna. Blackwater Heritage State Trail, the westernmost state rail-trail, winds through the historic town of Milton and extends eight miles north to join the U.S. Navy's 1.5-mile Military Heritage Trail, which ends at the Naval Air Station Whiting Field. The more than nine miles of paved trail offer an enjoyable trip through a quaint North Florida town and out into the countryside where wooden bridges cross several creeks and native wildflowers dot the landscape. Designated as a National Recreation Trail® and part of Florida's State Greenways and Trails System, this paved trail is the perfect venue for biking, running, walking and skating, along with picnicking and birdwatching activities. An unpaved equestrian trail parallels the paved trail. Equestrians may use the paved trail or unpaved shoulder at their discretion; bridges are shared by all trail users. For some real peace and quiet, hike through one of the many trails in Blackwater River State Park. This park covers more than 600 acres of undisturbed natural communities and was certified as a Registered State Natural Feature for its exceptional illustration of Florida's natural history in 1980.
These are just examples of the great trail opportunities in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. Make plans to see one of these places on your next trip to our region, or if you are from here, come out one afternoon and see the beauty that surrounds you.