Hiking/Biking

From the salt marshes in Cedar Key Wildlife Refuge, to the hammocks and sand hills, maple, ash, and cypress swamps at Manatee Springs State Park, to the floodplain swamps, upland mixed, hardwood, and pine forests at Fanning Springs, and the Nature Coast Trail State Park, hikers will never want for scene variation. Everywhere you look; there are examples of Florida's beautiful natural diversity: plants, trees, animals, flowers, and environment. Spend a day or even a weekend hiking through the numerous natural and man-made trails throughout the area. Hiking is not complicated so bring a fishing pole or tent and supplies to make the most of your camping experience.

Just be sure to follow these safety guidelines below:

• Always let someone know your plans; where you are going, the route you plan to take and planned return time or   date.
• Stay on established pathways and trails. Always sign in at established register points and study or carry maps   before you start.
• Check your gear and supplies before starting. Carry drinking water and a compass; wear appropriate clothing and   footwear.
• Check weather advisories before and during your hike.
• Plan restroom stops to avoid pollution of the habitat.
• Leave no litter. Carry necessary trash bags and pack out trash. Recycle when possible.
• Keep noise down. You'll see more and disturb less.
• Remember, this is Florida, where heat can be oppressive and bugs overwhelming. Know and respect your limitations.
• Obtain permission to hike on private land and public land, where necessary.

Lower Suwannee Hiking:

Fifty miles of roads are open to public vehicle traffic and additional 50 miles of secondary woods roads provide access for foot and bike traffic.

• Levy County: 9.0 mile Loop Road that passes through managed upland pine forests and hardwood swamps. There   are several spurs off this main road which end at saltwater creeks or refuge ponds. There are also gated roads for   foot or bicycle traffic. There are several walking trails available which provide a glimpse of the historical and natural   features of the refuge. There is also a canoe trail.
• The River Trail and Boardwalk: 0.4 mile trail which leads to the historic and beautiful Suwannee River; located just   north of the refuge headquarters.
• The Dennis Creek Trail and the Shell Mound Trail: 2 trails are available at Shell Mound. There are many other   activities available at the Shell Mound Unit including fishing, boating and wildlife observation.
• The Canoe Trail: with launch sites available in the town of Suwannee, the trail winds its way along the river and   through several brackish and freshwater creeks. A Canoe Trail Guide is available.

There are several boardwalks and observation towers available for wildlife/wild lands observation and photography. Wildlife observation is best in the early morning or evening hours and in the winter and spring months.

• Fishbone Creek an elevated observation deck provides breathtaking vistas. There is also a small boat launch.
• Salt Creek Boardwalk: Located off County Road 347 near the town of Suwannee, this accessible boardwalk provides   spectacular views of the salt marsh.




Biking

Many of the same trails used for hiking can also be used for bikers. Manatee Springs and Fanning Springs offer biking trails. The Lower Suwannee Wildlife Refuge, open year-round, offers 40 miles of roads for hiking, biking, and motorized vehicles. Fifty miles are designated for hikers and bicyclers. The Nature Coast Trail State Park extends more than 31 miles. The trail is open year-round from 8 a.m. to sunset and equipment, including the bicycles themselves, can be rented along the trail. For those taking a daylong excursion, sandwich shops and other rest areas are also located periodically along the trail. Bicycling offers great exercise at a quicker pace, but there are some safety guidelines that one should follow.

• Observe right-of-way rules and be aware of traffic traveling both ways. Do not be   caught off guard by potential   hazards or obstacles.
• Do not linger on the sides of roads or trails when resting or stopped. Always move a   reasonable distance from the   road or trail.
• Travel in a straight line and move slower in congested or heavy-traffic areas.
• When passing other pedestrians, give a loud audible warning and pass to the left.