It’s al­ways sum­mer some­where.

Suwan­nee River State Park, FL

Backpacker - - NEWS -

Not feel­ing the ’flakes? Head south where win­ter never gets surly and hike along­side a river that never got tamed. Way up in north­ern Florida, a 15-mile sec­tion of the Florida Trail traces the Suwanee River to Holton Creek River Camp, where mild day­time temps en­cour­age me­an­der­ing. Hike past cy­press trees, their bald knees pok­ing up from the river bot­tom, then climb and de­scend along 40-foot lime­stone bluffs that bank the spring-fed Suwanee. “I’ve found fos­sils of seashells in the cliffs,” says Alex Stigliano, pro­gram di­rec­tor for the Florida Trail As­so­ci­a­tion. “And the river dou­bles as a wildlife cor­ri­dor.” At Holton Creek, bunk down ( gratis for Florida Trail hik­ers) in screened shel­ters with hot show­ers nearby.

Fancy a ride on the only South­east­ern river that hasn’t been dammed, im­proved, or di­verted? Back­track 3 miles to Gib­son Park, where Suwanee River Ca­noe Rental ($40/day; suwan­neeriver­ca­noerental.com) delivers boats and PFDs for the 7-mile flat­wa­ter pad­dle back to your start­ing point.

TRAIL­HEAD 30.386906,-83.174656; 38 miles north­west of Lake City on NE Drew Way CAMP Free; first-come, first-serve PER­MIT None CON­TACT flori­da­trail.org

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