Big Shoals State Park features the largest whitewater rapids in Florida. Limestone bluffs, towering 80 feet above the banks of the Suwannee River, afford outstanding vistas not found anywhere else in Florida. When the water level on the Suwannee River is between 59 and 61 feet above mean sea level, the Big Shoals rapids earn a Class III Whitewater classification, attracting thrill-seeking canoe and kayak enthusiasts. Over 28 miles of wooded trails provide opportunities for hiking, biking, horseback riding and wildlife viewing. Visitors who wish to view the Big Shoals rapids should park at the Big Shoals parking area and hike approximately 1 mile on the Big Shoals hiking trail (Yellow Blaze trail). There is no vehicle access to either the Big Shoals or Little Shoals rapids. The best way to access Little Shoals rapids is the enter the park through the Little Shoals entrance, drive down road 1 and turn right on road 6. Drive to the end of road 6 where you will park your vehicle and hike approximately 1/2 mile down the Mossy Ravine trail (Blue Blaze trail) until you see the sign for Little Shoals. The Woodpecker Trail, a 3.4-mile long multipurpose paved trail, connects the Little Shoals and Big Shoals entrances to the park. The river offers excellent opportunities for freshwater fishing. A picnic pavilion that seats up to 40 people is available at the Little Shoals entrance.
Great hike along the river, plenty of shade along most of the trail and lots of great places to stop and eat lunch. Definitely bring bug spray though, there were quite a lot of mosquitoes even in the morning when the temperature was lower. We took this trail for IDIDAHIKE 2017 with the Florida Trail Association and finished with a trail through White Springs Tract back to the Stephen Foster Tourist Center for about an 8.5 mile hike.
I really wanted to give this trail 1 star, but it did have like 2 sections that were a nice single track mountain bike trail, especially the part that goes along the river by the big shoals. But the vast majority of the trail was riding through tilled up fire/access dirt/sand roads through the park, and it was miserable. It was horrible. Then to top it all off, the yellow flies are freaking insane. My husband and I rode the entire trail from bottom to top, then rode the loop at the top (which was all spider webs), then decided to take the paved trail back to the car, and were literally chased by probably hundreds of yellow flies the entire way back. They were relentless and made the whole experience worse than it had already been. I would avoid this trail like your life depended on it. And if you decide you do want to ride it, start at the top near the main entrance, then just ride to the Big Shoals rapids and back. That wouldn't be too bad of a ride. But do not even waste your time going on any other trails in the park. Massive waste of time and effort.