Bluffton Hiking Trail is a 1.9 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Astor, Florida that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.
The Bluffton Hiking Trail is found in the Lake George State Forest near Pierson, FL but best located by either going to Daytona Beach or DeLeon Springs, Florida as you jump off point to find the trail. In essence, you travel state road 40 and then turn onto St. Johns River Road. St. John's River Road starts out as a two lane dirt road but as you enter the state forest, it goes to a one lane dirt road. The road is fairly well maintained so you will not need a 4 wheel drive to get down it.
You can camp at a designated camping site. There are six camping spots, one with a concrete pad for a trailer and there is a port-a-potty on site with non-potable water available. You call the forestry agent (sign in at the entrance to the forest) and they will assign you a campsite (first come, first serve) and a combination to the gate to allow you to park at the site. Be sure to bring a pen or a pencil since they will want you to fill out a form and put a part of the form on you mirror. Camping is $10/night per person. Be careful where you pitch your tent. There are live and laurel oaks in the camp site and you need to look up to make sure there aren't some rotten limbs over your tent.
If you continue down St. Johns River Road, you will come to Bluffton Recreation Area that has a pier out into the St. John's River that is handicapped accessible (along with parking). The hiking trail is not handicapped accessible. You will be required to register for the recreational area (again the need for a pencil) and the charge is $2 per person per day. It's all on the honor system and you slip your money or check into the envelope and place it in the metal box provided. If necessary, you can pay by credit card to the forest ranger when you call.
The trail head starts out near the Bluffton Recrerational parking lot and then loops around and comes back to the starting point. You pass through several ecological communities, and depending on the time of year, wildflowers in bloom. There are a couple of "bridges" over little sloughs but if they are dry, I recommend you walk through the slough and stay off the walkways since they can be quite slick and one was rotted through and dangerous.
The loop is said to be a 3/4 mile loop but if you walk from the camp ground, it is more like 1.5 miles. Be sure to take plenty of water, insect repellent, a pencil or pen, and since this is bear country, you may want to carry some bear spray. You have an excellent chance to see white tail deer, wild turkey, and numerous other birds, including ospreys.