Topsail Hill Preserve State Park - Hiking

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About

Summary

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, with its 13 miles of trails and 3.2 miles of gorgeous, undeveloped beach, has something for everyone. Spend the morning hiking through a peaceful pine forest and the afternoon sunbathing next to the Gulf of Mexico.

Written by

Kelsey Kalinski

Distance

3.0 miles

The park has a total of approximately 13 miles of trails. The paved trail to the beach is one mile but there is also a shuttle that and 3 tram stations. The tram only runs on the Beach Tram Path.

Destination Distance From Downtown

37.2 miles

Difficulty

2 of 5 diamonds

There are several different trails in this park and the surfaces vary from flat pavement to dirt, gravel, and deep sand. There is very little elevation change but the heat is a factor during the summer with little to no shade in some areas.

Time To Complete

4 hours

The time can vary from a short walk to an entire day of hiking and enjoying the lakes and the beach.

Seasonality

All Seasons

The park is open year-round. Hiking is more pleasant during the cooler months but the trails are open every day.

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

Dogs are welcome on a 6-foot leash but are not allowed on the beach. They are allowed in the campground but not the cabins. Be sure to carry enough water for your dog when out hiking, as there is no drinking water available out on the trails.

Fees Permits

Yes

The entrance fee is $4 for a single occupant vehicle or $6 for 2-8 people in a vehicle. Pedestrians and bicyclists are $2. An annual Florida State Parks pass is available for $60 for an individual or $120 for a family.

Review

Intro

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is a wonderful park located right along Scenic Highway 30A. It is on the Gulf of Mexico and extends for 3.2 miles along the beach. This park also protects several freshwater lakes. Approximately 13 miles of trails lead you through pine and hardwood forests and to the lakes and the beach. The park is home to a variety of wildlife including bobcats, the Florida black bear, and many different bird species such as woodpeckers, herons, egrets, owls, and hawks. It is possible to do a loop hike of many different lengths or you can go for a leisurely walk out and back on a flat, paved trail if you wish.

What Makes It Great

Topsail Hill Preserve State  Park offers a great variety of trails that range in length from 0.2 mile to 3 miles. Some are paved while some are made of dirt, gravel, or loose sand. They travel through pine and hardwood forests and lead you to a freshwater lake or magnificent sand dunes and the emerald water of the Gulf of Mexico.

There is a one mile paved path that leads from the parking area to the beach. A tram travels on this path and it is open to both pedestrians and cyclists as well. The Campbell Lake Bike Path is a 3-mile, paved path that branches off of the Beach Tram Path and leads to the shore of Campbell Lake, a freshwater dune lake. There are restrooms at the end of this trail and it is possible to take canoes out on the lake at certain times of the year, although swimming is not allowed.

The remaining trails are unpaved. The Deer Track Trail forms a loop that connects to the Old Growth and Morris Lake Trails. It also provides beach access and traverses the shore of Campbell Lake for a short distance. Morris Lake Trail is a beautiful trail that leads to the lake and passes through gorgeous sand dunes. The trails are color-coded and well-marked, but be sure to follow the markings to avoid accidentally wandering onto a firebreak. There are many firebreaks throughout the park that resemble trails but are unmarked. 

Who is Going to Love It

This park is loved by many people of all ages. Hikers of all abilities can find a trail that will suit their needs. Some trails are paved, while others are dirt, gravel, or deep sand, which can provide quite a challenge to even the most experienced hiker. Hikers that love water will enjoy walking along the beach or hiking to a peaceful freshwater lake. Bird watchers will enjoy the many species that they are able to see from the various ecosystems within the park. Historians will enjoy seeing the iron tracks from a WWII missile development program on one of the trails. 

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is located at 7525 West County Highway 30A in Santa Rosa Beach, FL. From Destin, travel east on Highway 98 and make a right onto 30A. The park will be on your right.

The park has cabins as well as a large campground and RV park. There is a parking lot just past the entrance gate that must be used by all day use visitors, as only registered campers and cabin guests are permitted to drive into the campground area. Just beyond the day use parking lot is the start of the paved tram, pedestrian and bike path to the beach, which the other trails branch off of.

The entrance fee is $4 for a single occupant vehicle and $6 for a vehicle with 2-8 people. Bicycles and pedestrians are $2. An annual Florida State Parks pass is available for $60 for an individual and $120 for a family.

Dogs are permitted on the trails but must be on a leash at all times. They are permitted in the campground as well but are not allowed in the cabins or store or on the beach. Be sure to follow the color-coded arrows when hiking in the park to stay on the designated trails. 

Location

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

7525 W. Scenic Highway 30A
Santa Rosa Beach, FL, 32459
30.378756, -86.390899

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