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Hiking Trail at Johns Landing, Welaka Forest

 

Hiking Trail and Nature Viewing at Johns Landing Trail: Welaka State Forest with Photos and Maps

Putnam County

Welaka, Florida

Entry Fee: $2

Offical Website: Florida Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services

Traffic: Light

 

The Johns Landing Trailhead lies less than a mile south of Mud Spring Trailhead on County Road 309 just south of Welaka. These have to be some of the best maintained trails I have found, wide enough for a car with grass cut to keep the bugs away. Even the kiosks near the entrance were well stocked with brochures from FloridaStateForests.org.

 

The entrance is hard to miss with signage (below) and offers a covered picnic pavilion, wheelchair access, and even toilets - plumbing rather than outhouses. After two stops, I have found this area far less frequented than Mud Springs just up the road, and ideal for family gatherings or a quiet picnic.

 

There are a few trails, including a half mile Education Trail loop and a connecting trail that leads to Mud Spring, but the main attraction is a series of trails that form a seven mile loop. In succession, these are Longleaf Lane, Deer Run, Black Bear Slough, Turkey Path, and Indian Pond Road with Hammock Hideaway cutting through for those who want to cut the hike down to 4 or 5 miles. If all this sounds confusing, don't worry. The trails are wide and clearly marked, with pamphlets available at the trail head, so you will not lose your way.

 

The diversity of forest is amazing, with open stretches of long leaf pine as well as dense, old growth areas of palms and leafy evergreens. There are also two side extensions of the trail to take, leading to the primitive camping areas of Orange Point and John's Landing, each overlooking Little Lake George of the St. John's River.

 

Maybe most amazingly for me, I saw my first bald eagle in the wild and then, just fifteen minutes later, I saw another. I tried my best to get a picture (below) with amateurish results. Regardless, this is a wonderful set of trails and definitely not to miss.

 

Johns Landing Trail Map - PDF map of trail hike

 

Interactive Map of trail at AllTrails

 

Find below pictures and a Google Map.

 

Sign on Fl CR 309 for Johns Landing Trail, Welaka Forest

Sign on Fl CR 309 for Johns Landing Trail, Welaka State Forest

 

Picnic Pavilion at Johns Landing Trail

Picnic Pavilion at Johns Landing Trail

 


Not unusual to sight an American bald eagle...or three!

 

Female cardinal in winter, Florida

Female cardinal in winter, Florida

 

Longleaf pine, Welaka State Forest

The trails morph quickly from old growth, leafy evergreens to open fields of longleaf pine

 

Palm tree and Spanish moss

Look up, and you will see palm trees and Spanish moss to remind you that you are in Florida

 

Orange Point Campground, Welaka

Orange Point campground in Welaka State Forest offers primitive camping along Little Lake George

 

Little Lake George from Orange Point

Little Lake George from Orange Point

 

Little Lake George from Johns Landing

Breathe in the view of Little Lake George from Johns Landing

 

 

View and bird calls along Indian Pond Trail

 

 

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Copyright 2016-2017 Bryan Lindenberger
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Bryan Lindenberger
Hiking Trail at Johns Landing, Welaka Forest

Sign on Fl CR 309 for Johns Landing Trail, Welaka Forest

Picnic Pavilion at Johns Landing Trail

Female cardinal in winter, Florida

Longleaf pine, Welaka State Forest

Palm tree and Spanish moss

Orange Point Campground, Welaka

Little Lake George from Orange Point

Little Lake George from Johns Landing

Live Florida Beauty - Outdoor Sites and Images

Bryan Lindenberger
Hiking Trail at Johns Landing, Welaka Forest

Sign on Fl CR 309 for Johns Landing Trail, Welaka Forest

Picnic Pavilion at Johns Landing Trail

Female cardinal in winter, Florida

Longleaf pine, Welaka State Forest

Palm tree and Spanish moss

Orange Point Campground, Welaka

Little Lake George from Orange Point

Little Lake George from Johns Landing

Live Florida Beauty - Outdoor Sites and Images

Bryan Lindenberger
Hiking Trail at Johns Landing, Welaka Forest

Sign on Fl CR 309 for Johns Landing Trail, Welaka Forest

Picnic Pavilion at Johns Landing Trail

Female cardinal in winter, Florida

Longleaf pine, Welaka State Forest

Palm tree and Spanish moss

Orange Point Campground, Welaka

Little Lake George from Orange Point

Little Lake George from Johns Landing

Live Florida Beauty - Outdoor Sites and Images

Bryan Lindenberger
Hiking Trail at Johns Landing, Welaka Forest

Sign on Fl CR 309 for Johns Landing Trail, Welaka Forest

Picnic Pavilion at Johns Landing Trail

Female cardinal in winter, Florida

Longleaf pine, Welaka State Forest

Palm tree and Spanish moss

Orange Point Campground, Welaka

Little Lake George from Orange Point

Little Lake George from Johns Landing

Bryan Lindenberger
Hiking Trail at Johns Landing, Welaka Forest

Sign on Fl CR 309 for Johns Landing Trail, Welaka Forest

Picnic Pavilion at Johns Landing Trail

Female cardinal in winter, Florida

Longleaf pine, Welaka State Forest

Palm tree and Spanish moss

Orange Point Campground, Welaka

Little Lake George from Orange Point

Little Lake George from Johns Landing

Live Florida Beauty - Outdoor Sites and Images

Bryan Lindenberger
Hiking Trail at Johns Landing, Welaka Forest

Sign on Fl CR 309 for Johns Landing Trail, Welaka Forest

Picnic Pavilion at Johns Landing Trail

Female cardinal in winter, Florida

Longleaf pine, Welaka State Forest

Palm tree and Spanish moss

Orange Point Campground, Welaka

Little Lake George from Orange Point

Little Lake George from Johns Landing

Bryan Lindenberger
Hiking Trail at Johns Landing, Welaka Forest
Bryan Lindenberger
Hiking Trail at Johns Landing, Welaka Forest

Sign on Fl CR 309 for Johns Landing Trail, Welaka Forest

Picnic Pavilion at Johns Landing Trail

Female cardinal in winter, Florida

Longleaf pine, Welaka State Forest

Palm tree and Spanish moss

Orange Point Campground, Welaka

Little Lake George from Orange Point

Little Lake George from Johns Landing

Bryan Lindenberger
Hiking Trail at Johns Landing, Welaka Forest

Sign on Fl CR 309 for Johns Landing Trail, Welaka Forest

Picnic Pavilion at Johns Landing Trail

Female cardinal in winter, Florida

Longleaf pine, Welaka State Forest

Palm tree and Spanish moss

Orange Point Campground, Welaka

Little Lake George from Orange Point

Little Lake George from Johns Landing

Bryan Lindenberger
Hiking Trail at Johns Landing, Welaka Forest

Sign on Fl CR 309 for Johns Landing Trail, Welaka Forest

Picnic Pavilion at Johns Landing Trail

Female cardinal in winter, Florida

Longleaf pine, Welaka State Forest

Palm tree and Spanish moss

Orange Point Campground, Welaka

Little Lake George from Orange Point

Little Lake George from Johns Landing

Live Florida Beauty - Outdoor Sites and Images