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Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge, Florida...

Overview of Top Biking and Hiking Options

The Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge is located at the southern end of Florida's Big Bend in Levy and Dixie Counties, on both sides of the Suwannee River. The Refuge, covering 53,000 acres including the last 20 miles of the Suwannee River and 30 miles along the Gulf of Mexico, has a dual purpose: (1) to protect the water quality of the historic Suwannee River as it flows into the Gulf of Mexico, and (2) to protect and restore habitat lost to early logging operations (more below). Activities include hiking, biking, paddling, fishing, wildlife viewing and birdwatching (over 250 species identified). Closures can occur due to weather or other factors, check for status . (Map link and details below.)

Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge, Florida eco-biking

Map link... Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge


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Location: Dixie and Leon Counties
Mileage: Varied
Surface: Limestone, gravel, grass
Nearby points of interest: Suwannee River, Cedar Key, Shell Mound

 

 

Lower Suwannee NWR... Comments and Links

Biking is allowed on designated public roads and behind locked gates. Hiking is permitted in all areas open to the public. Camping and horseback riding are prohibited. Hunting is allowed (permit required).  Areas are shaded, but sunscreen recommended. Insect repellant is a must here, especially in the summer.

This is a remote area and some may not find it particularly scenic, but we found it to have a natural beauty that is compelling in its simple way with a lot of history to tell. We both biked and hiked in areas on both sides of the Suwannee River, see links below for details.


Dixie Mainline Trail Dixie Mainline Trail - On the north side of the Suwannee River, 9-mile limestone road along Florida's Big Bend (former logging road), between Horseshoe Beach and Suwannee. Open to cars, bikers and hikers.

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Lower Suwannee NWR Lower Suwannee Nature Drive - On the south side of the Suwannee River, 9-mile limestone road (former logging road) open to cars, bikers and hikers. Varied habitat and wildlife observed. Boat ramp, observation deck.

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Lower Suwannee NWR River Trail Loop - At the Refuge Headquarters, at north end of Lower Suwannee Nature Drive. 3/4 mile hiking loop includes boardwalk and an overlook on the Suwannee River - the only trail within the Refuge that goes to the River. Connects to 2 miles of additional hiking trail.

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Lower Suwannee NWR, Shell Mound Shell Mound - Archaeological site near Cedar Key, FL. Hiking trails include a short walk to the top of a large Indian shell mound. Nearby pier and observation deck, campground and boat ramp.

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More Information and Resources

More about the Refuge:

This area of north Florida was logged out many times, leading to the loss of the pristine forests and marsh. Non-native pine was planted for commercial use, replacing the native species. Restoration projects are ongoing to return the native long-leaf pine and sawgrass.

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