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The Florida Trail Segment 18: Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve Hampton Tract to Richloam Fire Tower

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Withlacoochee State Forest

The Florida Trail Segment 18: Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve Hampton Tract to Richloam Fire Tower is a 8.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Polk City, Florida that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 8.3 miles Elevation Gain: 36 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

For up to date park information, please see their website here: https://www.fdacs.gov/Divisions-Offices/Florida-Forest-Service/Our-Forests/State-Forests/Withlacoochee-State-Forest

mountain biking
1 month ago

Trails are within the Hampton Tract of the Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve. Well marked parking lot but easy to miss, right at the intersection of Deen Still and Rockridge Rd. Maps at the gate - take one! - but also bring your compass. Trails are well marked but there are some confusing intersections that the map doesn’t help with and it’s a big property. Also bring bug spray and plenty of water. I did this with mountain bike - all trails are wide, multi-use, various surfaces, some better maintained than others. I went on a Saturday morning and had the whole place to myself. Nice flat woods and lakes towards the back of the property.

I’m new to hiking this was my third hike and my longest definitely interesting wading through water and the different terrain it was very interesting and fun though I’d do it again

hiking
bugs
8 months ago

Fucking mosquitos

hiking
off trail
11 months ago

The trailhead here is actually the Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve Hampton Tract, so that may be confusing for people who see the title of this trail. There is an East trailhead further out on Rockridge Road but this isn’t it. The fire tower mentioned has to be the one on Highway 98, and you can hike to that point through this trail system, though it's a good ways from this trailhead. The recording I did follows the trail from markers 1-4 on the map, which took me through the campground, then over to 8, and continuing to run through 17, 18, 6, and 5 before completing the loop with 2 and 1. (There are a total of 20 markers in this system, so pick up a map at the trailhead.) Between the open hard-packed road for the first mile and the final half-mile, overgrown trail conditions I encountered at several spots, thick sand in others, and deep rutted sections from jeep or ATV tracks, I was ready for this trail to end after about 3 miles. I'd committed myself to finishing a 9-mile loop though and I survived. But it could use some work. It might work better as an equestrian trail (which it's used for) or mountain biking, but it was tough for a hike and one I won't likely do again. There are only a few spots that are shaded, making it very hot, and a lot of bugs. Hiking in Florida during the summer, you learn to deal with that, but the overall trail conditions weren't good and led to a less than enjoyable day. Like I said, it might not be bad if you're on a horse, but it was hard finding level ground where you weren't stepping into deep tire tracks or thick

hiking
Fri May 31 2019

I walked front to back to lakes. About 8 miles. Very easy walk good for anyone. Then walked loop 11. Lots of ruts. Uneven surface. This is very nice place. Can’t wait to go back!

Great ride. Lots of trails and variety. The lake at the end is amazing.

Sat Jun 02 2018

not a lot of single track trail. mostly Jeep trails. it is isolated, without a lot of variety so you get to be alone. a lot of open spaces, so you are sure to see wildlife.

hiking
Tue Jan 02 2018

We drove over from Tampa and met a friend coming in from Sanford. The trails were more extensive than that which is reflected here. There is a decent map at the trailhead but we would recommend that you take a picture of it as there are no hardcopy maps to take with you. There are decent trail indicators here. Be aware that some of the trails adjacent to the controlled burn areas are very torn up due to the heavy equipment that they use to control the fires. This means that the trails are very uneven with soft sand. Easy to turn agn ankle with the proverbial two steps forward and one step back. When we got out of the area of the controlled burns the trail was much more enjoyable. Also, the trailhead references “Hampton“ entrance and that made us wonder if we were at the right place. Given that the trails are much more extensive than reflected on this trail you may want to try out some of the other options to see if the hiking is a more enjoyable.

hiking
Thu May 11 2017

It was too hot for me today 93 to really enjoy the trail, I did however see a deer and my first alligator, the deer ran right towards me, than past me like I wasn't even there right on the straight hard pack road that begins the trail. The gator was in a small green swamp almost back to the y of the trail. It's quite sandy hiking the loop and not much for shade.

hiking
Sun Jan 12 2014

nice trail well marked .GPS is wrong for the entrance. You need to go farther west.

hiking
Sat May 25 2019

hiking
Thu May 24 2018