At over nine miles long and spanning from city to forest to military base, the Blackwater Heritage State Trail is a treat for local walkers, runners, bikers, equestrians, and other folks who love the outdoors. The trail is paved, pet-friendly, and host to intermittent restrooms, water stations, picnic tables and pavilions, and, two miles north of the first trailhead, a visitor center. Zip along the trail on your bike, rollerblade sections at your leisure, or take a walk with a four-legged friend beginning at one of five trailheads.
What Makes It Great
The Blackwater Heritage State Trail stretches from downtown Milton and through rural farmlands and wooded wilderness, offering a glimpse of the diversity of the area. Enjoy the quaint sights and shops of downtown Milton, wave “hello” to horses, goats, and cattle, and keep an eye out for wild turkeys, timid rabbits, or grazing deer.
The path quickly progresses from staggered stop signs amid one of the town’s residential areas to quiet trail that’s often unoccupied. Pets are encouraged to join their humans on the paved trail, while horses can take advantage of the paved or off-pavement and parallel equestrian trail at mile marker four. Restrooms — all waterless past this point — are available up until mile marker eight and parking can also be found intermittently along the trail.
The shade of a Northwest Florida forest often graces the Blackwater Heritage State Trail, so walks and rides are often cool and enjoyable. Birding is a popular activity upon the trail, so avian enthusiasts will want to bring their cameras, binoculars, and birding guide. Bridges overlooking tributaries to local rivers, like the Blackwater, provide a more exposed look at the surrounding lands, and benches placed along the length of the trail offer the perfect opportunity for wildlife watching or merely resting before continuing onward or heading back. Mile marker eight is the usual stopping point for visitors who aren’t military. Whiting Field requires military clearance for access to the last 1.5 miles of trail.
Who is Going to Love It
Recreational runners, bikers, skaters, and walkers will appreciate the serenity of the Blackwater Heritage State Trail, but professional cyclists and serious distance runners can also be found pounding the pavement along this sleepy stretch of pavement.
The road is mostly flat, and therefore perfect for speedy rides and runs, and with no vehicular access, those using both feet and wheels can focus on the trail ahead rather than bustling traffic. Kids will enjoy the watery overlooks and occasional wildlife spotting, while pets will appreciate a brand new place with brand new smells.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Make sure to bring water if in for the long-haul. After mile marker four, no potable water is available. Snacks, sunscreen, and bug spray are also advised, and cameras are always recommended for overlooks and the occasional critter spotting. Parking is available at multiple intervals along the trail, so simply choose a distance and park at the appropriate trailhead. The trail is open year-round, and requires no fees.