Plan Your Thru-Hike

Every adventure follows the same pattern: someone is inspired and sets a goal. They then conduct research, estimate costs, raise funds, assemble their Argonauts, and set sail. Maybe the goal is achieved, maybe not.  This website can help you determine your goal, research it, and estimate costs. But with the other steps, (no less crucial), you're on your own.

Thru-Hike Overview

mileage 1,100
duration 2-3 months
when first week of January to late March
cost $2500 - $3300  for on-trail expenses
south to north is best
start Oasis Visitor Center, Big Cypress National Preserve
end Fort Pickens, Gulf Islands National Seashore
longest roadwalks

31 miles - eastern corridor  /  64 miles - western corridor

total roadwalking

about 300 miles

permits required? yes — and you must join the Florida Trail Association
guidebook The Florida Trail Guide by Friend & Keatley
maps absolutely essential — order complete set from the FTA
maildrops necessary in 3 locations, recommended in 5 others
footwear sneakers are best
physical training needed? yes
biggest challenges water, moisture, and heat


Step 1:  Make Sure You Really Want to Do This

It may be a good idea to read accounts from other FT thru-hikers and see what their experiences were like. This site is about the nuts and bolts of planning and completing a thru-hike. While we do talk about the thru-hike experience, we don't get too personal about what it feels like to wade through Big Cypress or listen to packs of coyotes hunt newborn calves from your tent at night.

Why should that matter? The Florida Trail experience is very different than the AT, PCT, and CDT. If you have hiked one or more of those trails and are looking for a similar experience, you may be disappointed. There are no mountains to climb and no vistas to behold at their summits. There are so few other hikers, you may not make friends on the hike. The trail is incomplete and there are roadwalks. Then there is the humidity and the mosquitoes to contend with.

Be sure you know what the Trail will be like and are up for the challenge. We would hate for someone to plan a thru-hike for months, then arrive in south Florida and start hiking only to quit because they are disappointed by what they find. No one should be surprised when they step into that first swamp or start pounding out the first road walk. Check out our Discover the Trail section to learn more.

Step 2:  Read the Rest of this Website

This site should answer all of your questions about both the Florida Trail and the Florida environment generally. Our expert articles cover all the logistical concerns, like resupplying food, resupplying fuel, dealing with permitting and user fees, the costs of a thru-hike (even what to do with your car while you're gone), transportation to the termini, and what guidebooks and maps you should carry.


There are no outfitters along the Florida Trail. None. If you bring the wrong gear, you're stuck with it. Since we want you to be completely prepared on day one, we have detailed articles covering the most appropriate clothes for Florida, the right footwear for swamps, sandy hills, and roadwalks, as well as all other camping gear. Our gear checklist will make sure you don't forget anything. We even talk about how to save money and provide a list of stuff you definitely shouldn't bring.


Since most backpackers are unfamiliar with sub-tropical Florida, we go into detail about the kind of weather you will experience, Florida's notorious insects and the diseases they carry, famous wildlife like alligators, and how to avoid the dangerous plants along the Trail. We want everyone to remain healthy despite the mud, humidity, and heat, so our articles about keeping clean and staying healthy are specific about the challenges posed by the Florida environment.


Because not all hikers are the same, we have articles for military veterans and overseas visitors who want to thru-hike. Women have different needs and concerns than men, and we cover them in a comprehensive way. Couples too will find advice about traveling together, maintaining intimacy, and even how to make sure your sleeping bags can zip together.


Finally, we know that nothing is tougher on a thru-hike than the mental and emotional challenges. Based on years of experience, we write about facing and overcoming those mental hurdles and even how to transition back to normal life when you come home.


Ready to get started? If you are certain the Florida Trail is going to be your next adventure, then planning begins at our Logistics & Preparation page.