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Perched on high ridges and bluffs above the Apalachicola River, Torreya State Park is one of those rare places in Florida where topography steals the show. The 14-mile backpacking loop provides one of the toughest hikes in the state, attracting hikers from all over to stretch their legs on serious climbs that meander along ridge tops, past unusual rock formations, and to the edge of waterfalls. It’s the closest Florida gets to approximating the Appalachians, including a wealth of botanical beauty. While the rare torreya tree, from which the park gets its name, still persists in these woods, it’s the spring wildflowers that steal the show, ...

Perched on high ridges and bluffs above the Apalachicola River, Torreya State Park is one of those rare places in Florida where topography steals the show. The 14-mile backpacking loop provides one of the toughest hikes in the state, attracting hikers from all over to stretch their legs on serious climbs that meander along ridge tops, past unusual rock formations, and to the edge of waterfalls. It’s the closest Florida gets to approximating the Appalachians, including a wealth of botanical beauty. While the rare torreya tree, from which the park gets its name, still persists in these woods, it’s the spring wildflowers that steal the show, with hillsides of trillium turning red as early as February. Columbine and several types of wild azalea lend their colors a little later in the season. Cultural history is of importance at Torreya State Park as well. During the Civil War, gun emplacements were set on several strategic bluffs to help protect Confederate naval vessels, which were based upriver in Columbus, Georgia. The remains of these earthen batteries can be explored on the river bluffs. The Gregory House, a historic plantation home moved to the ridge, overlooks one of the most expansive views in the Sunshine State.

Sandra Friend
About the Expert

Sandra Friend has written 12 books about Florida, including the Explorer's Guide (Countryman Press) series to Florida.

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Winter and spring