My main gripe with hiking in the Florida panhandle is that the landscape doesn’t seem to change much. It’s very flat, often wet and devoid of the views you get hiking in New England mountains.
However, the Garden of Eden trail in Bristol is everything a hike is suppose to be. There are steep uphills and downhills, plenty of flat stretches to catch your breath on, varying landscape a great view of the Apalachicola River at the end. Eryn and I loved it.
The trail is a little over three miles long, and whoever was given the task of blazing the trail took the job seriously. You can usually see three orange blazes at a time, and even if the blazes weren’t there the trail is so well beaten it would be hard to get lost except for at a couple of intersections.
For the first part of the trail, you hike on a sand path through a meadow with a lot of lizards and some wild flowers. This part is quick, and there is a working water fountain if you want to fill up. Then you head into the woods (bring bug spray) where there is a quick descent, a quick climb and then you walk on a little ridge line for awhile. This is all shaded by trees.
Then there is another down, and another up in the woods. Not long after that, you come out into a meadow where there have clearly been some controlled burns and more lizards. After a short stretch there, you get to the loop part of the trail, which is where the views of the river are. There are also a bunch of trees with name plated to look out for. The wild olive tree was my favorite.
I did the hike in Toms, because I forgot to change my shoes before I left the house. It was mostly okay, but a bit slippery on the downhills so I would recommend up wearing sneakers. The hike takes about two hours. Have fun!