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Latest update: April 2023

Palatka to St. Augustine State Trail...

Connecting Two Historic Florida Cities

The Palatka to St. Augustine State Trail currently runs 19 miles between Palatka and Vermont Heights along the route of Henry Flagler's East Coast Railway. The trail largely follows SR 207, along the roadside in part but with a wide buffer. Other sections are away from the road, shady and scenic. The ride includes small towns, woodland and farmland. To the east, an extension from Vermont Heights to St. Augustine is planned. To the west, a connector route winds through East Palatka to US 17 and continues west over the St. Johns River Bridge to the Palatka Urban Trail which in turn serves as a connector to the Palatka to Lake Butler State Trail. Palatka to St. Augustine State Trail is part of the 260-mile St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop. (Map link and photos below.)

Palatka Trails

Map link... Palatka to St. Augustine State Trail

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Location: Putnam and St. Johns Counties
End Points: Palatka to Vermont Heights (eventually, to St. Augustine)
Parking/Trailheads: Vermont Heights, Armstrong, Hastings, East Palatka (see map)
Mileage: 19 miles; 1.3 mile connector to St. Johns River Bridge
Surface: Asphalt, 12 feet
Nearby points of interest: St. Augustine, Fort Matanzas

Bike Shops/Rentals:
Putnam Bicycles (Palatka)

Support and Advocacy:
Putnam Blueways and Trails CSO
Florida State Parks Foundation

 Page Summary:

  1. Biking the Palatka to St. Augustine State Trail
  2. Vermont Heights to Armstrong
    - Vermont Heights Trailhead to East Terminus
    - Vermont Heights Trailhead to Armstrong
  3. Armstrong to Hastings
    - Spuds, Deep Creek, Cora Harrison Preserve Trailhead
  4. Hastings to East Palatka
    - St. Johns River Bridge
  5. More Information and Resources


Biking the Palatka to St. Augustine State Trail... Comments and Photos

The trail is easy to ride, wide and straight through forest land and past farms. Parking is available at Vermont Blvd., Vermont Heights, Armstrong Park, Cora Harrison Preserve (Hastings), and East Palatka (see map). From the Vermont Heights Trailhead we visited the trail east to its temporary end, and then west to Palatka. We found the most pleasant section to be the 3.5 miles through Armstrong, off the road between Elkton and Spuds.

Vermont Heights to Armstrong - 6.1 miles

Vermont Heights Trailhead to Northern Terminus - 2.5 miles

Vermont Heights Trailhead

The Vermont Heights Trailhead is located along SR 207 about 2.5 miles west of I-95. The trail runs along the shoulder of the access road to the parking area; the restrooms and picnic area are located across a short bridge over a canal. Leaving the trailhead, the trail continues along SR 207.

Trailhead to Northern Terminus

From the trailhead and heading east, the trail runs through a quiet wooded area and at one mile crosses Vermont Blvd. where a small parking area is roadside. In another 1.5 miles, the trail dead-ends at some old railroad track - future extension to St. Augustine.

Vermont Heights Trailhead to Armstrong Trailhead - 3.6 miles

From the trailhead west along SR 207, the trail crosses the road at Elkton and runs along the south side of SR 207 until turning off through a scenic section and crossing the Moccasin Branch Bridge. Past here, a short spur runs to the Armstrong Park Trailhead (parking, restrooms, picnic, playground).

Vermont Heights to Armstrong

Armstrong Park Trailhead

Armstrong Trailhead to Hastings Trailhead - 5.25 miles

From the Armstrong Park Trailhead, the trail crosses Armstrong Rd. and continues through the woodlands. Markers along the trail tell of the historic Armstrong Community. This was one of St. Johns County's earliest African-American settlements, originally established in 1896. The trail re-emerges to SR 207 at Spuds (founded as a potato farming community, as you may have guessed), crossing SR 207 - this is a 4-lane divided highway, use the crossing signals and be careful. West of Spuds, the trail runs through the scenic Deep Creek Conservation Area, crossing Deep Creek and continuing through woodland until emerging in Hastings at Morrison Rd.

Armstrong to Spuds

Spuds to Hastings

Trail at Hastings

The trail then runs through Hastings along Ashland Ave. to the Cora Harrison Preserve Trailhead (parking, restrooms, picnic). Hastings, "The Potato Capital of Florida," grew in the 1890's as an agricultural and rail center providing produce to Henry Flagler's enterprises. Historic markers and buildings tell the history.

Through Hastings

Cora Harrison Preserve Trailhead

Hastings Trailhead to East Palatka - 7.5 miles

From the Hastings trailhead, the trail crosses Cracker Branch over a bridge, then rejoins SR 207. After crossing SR 207A (about 3 miles), the trail again leaves the roadway and continues along Stone Farm Rd., a quiet road past woodlands, fields and homes. Entering East Palatka, the surroundings get busier. The trail turns southward and runs along Putnam County Blvd. to the trailhead at East River Road (parking only, 3 spaces). The trail ends at McCormick Rd. but continues seamlessly onto a connector trail that winds through East Palatka, emerging along US 17 and running west across the St. Johns River Bridge to join the Palatka Urban Trail.

Hastings to McCormick Rd. Terminus

Connector Route to St. Johns River Bridge

More Information and Resources

Nearby Biking:

Palatka Area Overview
- Palatka to Lake Butler State Trail
- Palatka Urban Trail
- Ravine Gardens State Park
- Gold Head Branch State Park

North FL Region - More trails plus Regional Overview map

St. Johns River to Sea Loop

Related Resources:
Florida State Parks - Palatka to St. Augustine State Trail
Florida State Parks - Cycling on the Palatka to St. Augustine State Trail

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