The Best Months to Hike the Florida Trail
Planning to hike the Florida Trail? Since 2018, I have been section hiking the Florida Trail, one of eleven congressionally-designated National Scenic Trails in the United States. At more than 1,300 miles, the FT has been called “the toughest hike you’ve never heard of” for its exceptionally diverse track spanning the entirety of the Florida peninsula.
The Florida Trail presents hikers with every extreme: wet and dry, hot and cold, remote, and urban… and all of the wildlife for which the state is so well known. Whether your section hiking or thru-hiking the Florida Trail, you need to be prepared for a variety of seasons and conditions… often on the same day.
WHAT ARE THE BEST MONTHS TO HIKE THE FLORIDA TRAIL?
For thru-hikers planning to walk the 1,300-plus miles of the Florida Trail, the hiking season begins in early January at the Southern Terminus of the FT. This timing will allow you to miss some of the more unpredictable weather and deer-hunting seasons on public lands during the fall. If you begin in early January, you will likely finish the entirety of the Florida Trail by April.
For section-hikers, weekend warriors, and day-hikers, the hiking season in Florida is October through early May, with the most ideal months being October, March, and April. The more temperate weather in these three months will allow you to hike with a lighter pack by reducing the layers needed for more extreme conditions.
Unless you’re a fan of torrential rain, high humidity and mosquitos, you may want to avoid distance hiking in the summer months of July, August, and September.
WINTER HIKING IN FLORIDA
Florida’s weather is unpredictable in winter. It can be 83 degrees today and 43 degrees tomorrow. You need to pack prepared for a full range of weather. It’s unlikely it will snow during your hike, but you can certainly experience freezing temperatures overnight throughout all of northern Florida, extending as far south as Orlando. Take heed that – with the state’s humidity – cold nights in Florida are particularly chilly.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FLORIDA TRAIL
- Layering Ultralight Clothing for Pilgrimage Backpacking
- The Top Hiking GPS Apps for iPhone and Android
- How To Read and Follow Trail Blazes in North America
- PACKING LIST: Backpacking First-Aid Kit
- The Ultimate Backpacking Gear List for Hiking the Florida Trail
- The Best Months to Hike the Florida Trail
- PACKING LIST: First-Aid Kit for Blisters and Foot Care
- Five Tips for Hiking the Florida Trail
Husband. Father. Backpacker. Pilgrim. Author.
My recent treks include the Camino de Santiago through Portugal and Spain as well as section hiking along the Florida Trail and the Appalachian Trail. In 2021 I began walking the California Missions Trail in the United States and – once it is safe to do so – I will complete England’s ancient Pilgrims’ Way from London to Canterbury. Afterward, I’ll begin the Via Francigena, the historic way in Europe connecting Canterbury to Rome.