Torreya Challenge is a 12.6 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Bristol, FL that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and camping and is accessible year-round.
Directions from Bristol, FL: Take Route 12 northeast to Route 1641. Distance is approximately 13 miles. (There are signs on Interstate 10, exit 24.) After entering the park, trailhead parking is the first left. Or continue to the end of the park road and begin the trail south of the Gregory House.
Excellent winter hike and overnight experience for young families and first time hikers to try out equipment.
Lots of deer, Barred Owls (even a nighttime hootenanny!).
One mile hike in to the best river view sites; can also hike 3 or 4 miles to remote sites. I've done 7 or 8 one and two nighters here, usually in January.
Water, firewood, toilets convenient.
A nice challenging hike. We went on an extremely hot day so that added to the fun. Saw turkeys, deer, snakes, box turtles and plenty more. Can't wait to go back.
Great hike. 2 miles in to the trail to reach the start of the challenge. Also, saw and waited on a family of 6 wild boar to finish eating.
Including the connector trail that connects the two loops, the entire trail is actually closer to 14.2 miles. I did this trail twice in preparation for a 40 mile Appalachian Trail hike (Dick's Creek Gap, Georgia to Winding Stair Gap, North Carolina) and it's the best training run I think you can find in Florida for that type of hike.
Other challenges the trail provided - swarms of bugs whenever we stopped. Load up on bug spray in the Spring and Summer. Also, I almost stepped on a Copperhead while on the connector trail. It moved when one of my trekking poles landed near it or I would have stepped right on it as it was right in the middle of the trail, blending in beautifully (until it moved).
So is the torryea challenge the right loop? or both loops? Where do I find a map with the campgrounds designated.
I would definitely recommend checking Torreya out! I loved the variety in terrain that it has to offer. The hiking trails lead you along a creek, out into an open plain and along the river and up steep hills. Just watch out for giant spiders chillin on their webs if you leave the trail!
Awesome trail more moderate than easy I'm in Boy Scout about 45 min away and hiked the entire loop then went back to the other trail and hikes to the campsite awesome views and scenery lots of running water potable water and maps are available at the trail head lots of elevation change I recommend trekking poles if you are carrying a 65+ liter pack lots of bridges and at one point you have to cross a shallow creek overall an awesome trek and great trip
Awesome hike! This is, hands down, the most enjoyable trail I've hiked in Florida. There's good elevation change, plenty of flowing water, and trails that follow ridgelines -- often accompanied by a nice, cooling breeze. The forest here is older and more natural what you'll find in the flatlands of the panhandle. I was delighted to find such great scenery here in Florida!
With only minor exceptions, the trails well marked and well maintained. Plenty of maps were available at the trailheads. Trees are bi-directionally marked every 10 - 30 yards. At the end of every mile, you'll find a nice wooden bench. With these reassurances, I never felt "lost," even though I hadn't seen anyone for hours.
Bottom line: if you're within a few hours' drive of the Torreya Campground, it's well worth it.
(Word to the wise: bring bug spray in, check for ticks on the way out!)
Hiked this trail right after Christmas with a buddy. We are both used to the NEGA mountains and this was an amazing experience to say the least. It was like hiking in NEGA in the winter but with warmer weather. I want to add that the staff at the park were awesome and very welcoming.
The Torreya Challenge Trail is the best trail in Florida to prep for the Appalachian Trail (AT). In July 2013, I walked the access trail from Georgia's Amicalola Falls State Park to Neel Gap and I am certain my practice hikes with loaded pack on the Torreya contributive to my success in completing the trail. I recommend this trail to anyone who wants a challenge.
This is a really nice place... challenging trail, but so worth it!