There are two distinct sections to the trail, from Sopchoppy along Surf Road through St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge to US 98 (about 10 miles), and along Mashes Sands Road on Mash Island east of US 98 (about 2.5 miles). (Map link and photos below.)
Map... Ochlockonee Bay Trail
Location: Panacea (Wakulla County)
End Points: Mashes Sands Beach to Sopchoppy
Mileage: 12.5 miles
Nearby points of interest: Mashes Sands Beach, Sopchoppy
Starting at Sopchoppy, the trail runs along the roadside to Surf Road. On Surf Road, it soon enters the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, and though still along the roadside this is a scenic ride including some boardwalks. At about 7 miles, it reaches Ochlockonee Bay but far enough away to have only an occasional glimpse. At the intersection of US 98, a trailhead was under construction when we visited.
Crossing US 98, the trail ends at the Tide Creek bridge and follows the roadway over the bridge, becoming a separate trail again over the bridge. The trail along Mash Sands Road is scenic with marsh views on one side and glimpses of the Bay on the other, a negative is that it's right along the roadway with no buffer. The trail enters Mashes Sands Park and ends at the boat ramp, where there's a large sandy lot with paid parking. Instead, continue along the road to the trailhead. Going past the trailhead, check out Mashes Sands Beach - a hidden gem we really enjoyed.
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