Osceola National Forest is part of the area where the state's largest Civil War battle took place. Now, you can find a very peaceful environment with many beautiful trails to explore. At this national forest near Sanderson, Florida, you can also find great places to fish, waterski, and swim. Equestrians love to go riding along the swampy trails. This Florida location near Osceola is on the Great Bird Trail and the Florida National Scenic Trail.
Three loops make up Osceola Nice Wanderer Trail ranging from 0.9 to 2.1 miles in length. These loops are a great place to see red-cockaded woodpeckers. You can also see part of the Osceola Civil War Battlefield from this relatively flat trail. Part of the trail is wheelchair accessible with assistance.
Length: 4.2 miles
The Trampled Track Trail northeast of the Olustee Boat Launch is an interpretative trial designed to teach you about the sawmill community that once existed in this area. The flat, barrier-free trail leads to a beautiful location overlooking Ocean Point. This path in the Olustee Day Use Area is wide and well maintained.
Length: 0.5 miles
There are three trailheads to the Florida National Scenic Trail in the Osceola National Forest. This trail connects some of the most stunning locations in Florida together. The 23-mile segment of this trail located here runs through beautiful pine forests, scrub, prairies, and swamps. The segment starts at the gate of the Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park.
Length: 1,500 miles
The Fanny Bay Trail runs under tall cypress trees to a lookout where you can see a swamp below. It is an excellent trail if you want to see dragonflies and frogs. This trail starts at the Interstate 10 Rest Area in the forest.
Length: 1.1 miles
The Mt. Carrie Wayside Trail is easily accessible from US 90. This trail offers a mature longleaf pine forest, scrubland, and sandhills. Be sure to bring your fishing equipment along. This trail near Lake City is a great place to see wildlife and learn more about them as there are interpretive signs along the trail.
Length: 1 mile
Three types of fishing are available at Osceola National Forest. The most accessible is Ocean Point, with its campground. This 1,760-acre lake is an ideal spot to go fishing for largemouth bass, bluegill, warmouth, and crappie. Scattered around the forest are borrow pits. These small, constructed ponds, usually less than 10 acres, are great places to fish for bass from a canoe or jon boat. Some of the swamps drain into small creeks, and you can fish from the shore along these streams.
Over the years, several geocaches have been hidden in Osceola National Forest. These geocaches were designed to look like submarines or lighthouses. These caches have disappeared, but new ones may be created.
The longleaf pine forests at Osceola National Forest are prime spots to see red-cockaded woodpeckers and Florida brown bears. This forest is home to 29 threatened and endangered species, including the eastern indigo snakes, gopher tortoises, and wood storks. The staff has taken significant steps to increase wildlife habitat to encourage turkeys to come to the area, especially in the Big Gum Wilderness.
The Northeast Florida Astronomical Society regularly holds Saturday night meetups at a swampy location north of Sanderson. This area can be challenging to find on your own, so consider contacting the organization ahead of time so that you can follow someone to the location. Members are glad to help you learn about the night sky, and they will often loan you their telescopes and binoculars.
Address: Osceola National Forest headquarters, 24874 US-90, Sanderson, FL 32087
Fee: Entry fee $0
Osceola National Forest is the smallest national forest in Florida, but it holds many unique places to explore and things to do. Unlike many national forests, this one is very accessible because it is bisected by Interstate 10. There are fantastic hiking trails to explore, along with terrific fishing opportunities. Dark sky programs occur here regularly on Saturday nights. This swamp is home to many different animals. You will not want to miss exploring this location that is part of the Great Bird Trail and the Florida National Scenic Trail in your RV. If you do not have an RV, rent one on RVshare.com.