St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge - Hiking
The St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge offers something for every type of hiker, from a half mile walk across boardwalks to an overnight backpacking trip along the Florida National Scenic Trail. You can choose to hike through a forest or swamp, across levees and marshes, or along the shore of Apalachee Bay, or choose to hike all of them.
There are several short nature trails along the Lighthouse Road. If these are done, they add up to approximately 2 miles. However, the primitive trails and the Florida National Scenic Trail allow for much longer hikes for anyone wanting to take on a challenge.
Destination Distance From Downtown
This is a coastal wildlife refuge with no elevation gain. However, during the late spring and summer, the warm weather and insects can increase the difficulty level.
Time To Complete
You can spend anywhere from an hour here to a day or even do an overnight backpacking trip on the Florida National Scenic Trail, which passes through the refuge. Most visitors spend approximately 2 hours.
This refuge is open year-round, but it is better to go during cooler weather as many of the trails are in full sun. There are mosquitoes, gnats, and biting flies during the summer also, so insect repellent is recommended.
On Leash Only
Dogs are welcome but must be on a leash at all times. Poisonous snakes and alligators are very common here, so make sure you are always aware of your surroundings.
There is a $5 fee per vehicle entering the refuge or $1 per pedestrian/bicyclist. An annual pass to this wildlife refuge can be purchased for $25, and an annual pass to all national lands can be purchased for $80. These passes are sold in the visitor center at the refuge.