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Palatka is a designated Florida Trail Town, the hub for a growing North Florida rail-trail system, currently consisting of 3 trails: Palatka to Lake Butler State Trail (3 separate sections complete totaling 30+ miles, new construction underway), Palatka to St. Augustine State Trail (19-mile section complete) and the Palatka Urban Trail (2.5 miles in-town connector route). Nearby, check out eco-biking and hiking at two of the best little State Parks in Florida: the 1.8 mi. paved scenic rim loop trail at Ravine Gardens State Park, just south of Historic Downtown Palatka, and the 3-mile park road at Gold Head Branch State Park north of Keystone Heights.
Overview Map... Palatka, FL Area Trails
Follow the link in the summaries below for a full-page trail report with detailed map, trailheads, photos, and suggestions on the best trail sections to ride. Future plans call for closing the trail gaps and for extending the rail-trail from Lake Butler west to Lake City, and from Vermont Heights east to St. Augustine, for a total over 100 miles when complete.
Palatka to Lake Butler State Trail - Located on an old Norfolk-Southern Railroad right-of-way, three segments of the planned 50+ mile trail are complete: 26 miles from Palatka to Keystone Heights, 2.2 miles at Hampton, and 4 miles at Lake Butler. A work in progress.
Palatka to St. Augustine State Trail - 19 miles complete from East Palatka to Vermont Heights (eventually to St. Augustine). An easy ride, there's one quiet trail section that stands out. Serves as part of the emerging 260-mile St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop.
Palatka Urban Trail - This is an in-town connector between the Palatka-to-Lake Butler State Trail (to the west) and Palatka to St. Augustine State Trail (to the east). Parts of the route are off-street bike path, other parts are bike lane only. A work in progress.
Gold Head Branch State Park - Developed by the CCC in the 1930's, Scenic park has bikeable 3-mile park road, hiking on park trails plus a segment of the Florida National Scenic Trail, picnicking, camping and more. The scenic ravine was created by water from spring-fed Gold Head Branch.
Ravine Gardens State Park - Every day at 4 pm, the loop road closes to cars, so it's a great time for bikers and hikers to visit. The 120-foot deep ravine was created over thousands of years by water from spring-fed Whitewater Branch, the gardens were added by the WPA in the 1930's. Hiking on 3+ miles of trails.
100FloridaTrails.com... 100+ Florida Multi-use Bike Trails, Best for Safe, Fun Recreation and Fitness
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