Explore the most popular trails near Astor with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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Started at Clearwater Lake and worked my way north. Got a late start (5pm), so only made it about three miles until we set up camp at the flood plains. Like previous posts stated, around Paisley might not be the best spot to set up camp. LOTS of traffic, dirt bikes, four wheelers, a truck parked itself by my camp with its headlights on (I didn't notice the truck but my friend did). Second day we made it to the springs. Great location to relax and snorkel. Stayed the night at the springs and made the 11 mile trip back to clearwater lake the next day. First couple of miles are barren due to recent controlled burns, but once you pass the flood plains and enter the tropical forest it really is beautiful. Overall a great day hike, but not the best spot to camp at night.

Good trail but hard pass around loop,

hiking
3 months ago

Great day hike out to the spring. Planning a weekend stay around the spring loop soon.

hiking
3 months ago

Disappointed to drive 3 hours to hike this trail, only to find it closed due to Bear Activity. Oh well, plenty of other beautiful trails in the forest

Blazes were poorly marked and very few and far between.

We were only able to do about 2 miles on this trail and had to turn back. we had our dogs with us and they kept getting small thorns in their paws that were very painful. Not a good trail for dogs, unless they have feet protection.

Good trail to ease into the forest. Flat, palmettos, trees. Saw a deer when went off path. But, easy trail, no real points of interest. Good nature.

Good hike but, be aware there is hunting season so avoid very early morning or evening/night hikes. Wear bright colors and bring a whistle to make noise every so often to let know your presence and location.

hiking
7 months ago

Solid trail. Nothing particularly mind-blowing to see but the sink hole is cool. This was a good way to kill a couple hours outside on a nice day, but don't expect to be wow'ed.

What started as a planned two-night backpack hike at a leisurely pace turned into something different. I headed out 3pm Friday and hiked 4.5 miles. I set up camp to enjoy a nice quiet evening under the stars. Right around 8 pm everything changed. Convoys (Maybe 15) of 4x4 trucks started down the Forestry Services roads. Then between 9pm - 1am the hounds were running all over the park tracking deer. The gun fire was the whipped cream on the cake. This was not an occasional shot, there were semi auto discharges (of multiple calibers) as late as 3:30 am. I decided to leave the next day after making it to Alexander springs after finding fresh 45 cal shell casings on the path back to Clearwater Trailhead. Hunting season was supposed to start the next week, so I am very curious as to what was going on.

My advice, do not go camping in this area until Forestry can address this (if they address this). Look at when Hunting season is avoid planning your camping trip close to that time. Thankfully my family were not with me. Also, this is not a 9.3 mile hike per this site. This is more than 11 miles one way.

Been on this trail multiple times and it never ceases to amaze!

hiking
10 months ago

Wish it was better maintained!

The nature was beautiful the history was awesome. The only complaint I think we had the whole trip was the lack of maintained trail makers and the sign and map on the way in we're so faded you could not read them.

Starting from Clearwater Lake the first 6 miles are wonderful. A bit of roll through a pine Forrest and then down into the typical Central Florida lowland. The final three miles are also rather pretty with a most excellent boardwalk closing out the FT segment. But the middle 3 miles are pretty much Mordor. The look is a 3 year ago fire took most of the trees, leaving the occasional 20 foot high charred stick. What has replaced the pine scrub is 6 foot high dense undergrowth with complete sun exposure. Add in silly me choosing a cloudless July afternoon to take the stroll and this Frodo is asking Golum for directions by mile 7. But hey, it's a hike not a Disney walk so part of the why we do this stuff is dealing with what the day throws at you. Finally the Pines return and you take the boardwalk and then the final half mile along a bike friendly path to the front gate of Alexander Springs Park - here is where this day gets special. You walk past the bathing suit picnickers to the waters edge. You wade into an incredibly cool, sandy bottom, Florida Spring that melts the sand and sweat into that special feeling of a diem well seized.

I want to begin by apologizing for underestimating Central Florida's section of the FNST. This Hike was B.E.A.utiful!
We did it (04.01.2017) from Alexander Springs to Clearwater. It was hot (89°F)! especially the sand scrub section (no canopy coverage). That didn't last too long, however, so it was still very pretty!
At the beginning it looks like everything else in Central Florida (I hike here a lot), then moves onto the sand scrub, to a more jungle like area (with a couple of boardwalks) to just forest. The canopy coverage does open and close from time to time, so the sun still gets to you. The most scenic part of it all was between FR69 to Clearwater trailhead. Didn't even look like Florida and had very obvious elevation changes (didn't expect that).
Definitely more than 11 miles and we didn't see any bear or deer, just an armadillo, a scorpion and the usual birds and insects. Watch out for ticks and mosquitos.
I'm more than likely going back to hike and camp on the trail. But I'll probably wait until after summer...yeesh!

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Enjoyed this hike and all the historical points of interest along the way! I wish I had read the book The Yearling first.

Parked at Clearwater Friday afternoon. Hiked 3 miles in to set up camp. Hiked to Alexander Springs Saturday morning and then continued out 3 miles past Farles Prairie before turning back. Set up camp just south of 19 and returned to Clearwater Sunday. Saturday was a big day-28 miles. Great hike!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

I loved this walk mid-January, but would never recommend when the temperature isn't cool. The cemetery and sinkhole are cool gems. Lots of history. You will get some sun.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Great reward with the sinkhole and cemetery but not kid-friendly with poorly maintained trails and SO many sand spurs. Hiked with an adventurous 5 year old but wouldn't recommend it to parents. Beautiful forest and plant life.

walking
Wednesday, September 07, 2016

trails for everyone

Monday, August 08, 2016

Amazing hike, a lot of history

hiking
Saturday, April 02, 2016

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.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

This trail isn't located in Eustis, FL.

hiking
Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Beautiful trail. Love the history behind it and the sites such as the cemetery and the sinkhole.

Alexander springs to buck lake. From thicK Forrest to pine trees to beach type bush. Saw deer, heard wild hogs & birds and had to keep plucking ticks off my clothes.

Florida Trail, nice rolling pines, well marked with benches every mile or so.

cross Florida Trail, nice rolling pines, well marked, benches every mile or so.

mountain biking
Tuesday, March 24, 2015

nice rolling pine forest, easy well marked

hiking
Friday, August 30, 2013

Oh no! This is actually a super cool trail with several historical sites to view. However, it's located in the Ocala National forest off of 19 and not Eustis as the map indicates.

Just got back from a Juniper Springs to Alexander Springs overnight hike. The trail was beautiful with varying landscapes and lots of wildlife, saw a young black bear, a deer, and a coyote. It was a relatively easy 17 miles, even though you do get the uphill experience going over the scrub pine islands. Either way by the time I hit Alexander Springs I was ready for a dip. The water was cool and refreshing and a perfect end to the day.
On a negative side note I stepped in a tick nest somewhere along the trail and the ticks took up residence in my shoes and socks. Literally thousands on my ankles, feet, and in my socks/shoes. I recommend spraying your socks and shoes with Deet before you go out there. I know I will from now on.

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