Charles H. Bronson State Forest - Backpacking/Camping

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Summary

One of the best stretches of the Florida Trail can be found at Charles H. Bronson State Forest in Christmas, Florida. With easy to access trailheads, water crossings and campsites, it is a great location for your next backpacking trip in Central Florida.

Written by

Chris Hamilton

Distance

0.1 miles

The trails to the campsites are either 3 or 6 miles.

Destination Distance From Downtown

19.9 miles

Difficulty

3 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

1 hours

One day to several days

Seasonality

All Seasons

Dog Friendly

Yes

Fees Permits

Yes

$2 Entrance Fee

Review

Intro

One of the best stretches of the Florida Trail can be found at Charles H. Bronson State Forest in Christmas Florida. With easy to access trailheads, water crossings and campsites, it is a great location for your next backpacking trip in Central Florida.

What Makes It Great

The Charles H. Bronson State Forest includes a 7.7 mile section of the Florida Trail and 3 primitive campsites for you to use. Two of the campsites (Joshua Creek Campsite and Fern Camp) are located along the Florida Trail. The other campsite (County Line Campsite) can be found along the River trail. Each campsite includes a fire ring and some makeshift benches. All 3 campsites are first come first serve.

If you are interested in a fun overnight backpacking trip a great option is to start off at the Chuluota Wilderness Trailhead and head south on the Florida Trail. After 3 miles, you will reach the Joshua Creek Campsite and 3 miles after that you will reach Fern Camp. Both of these campsites will give you a great spot to camp for the night.

From there, you can either head back to the Chuluota Wilderness Area Trailhead or continue on to the trailhead at the Orlando Wetlands Park. If you decide to continue on to the Orlando Wetlands Park make sure you take the blue, wilderness trail going west. You will know you have arrived at the trail intersection when you see a large set of stairs over the gate. All told, this route will give you a 13 mile hike.

Who is Going to Love It

Anyone looking for a great, primitive camping experience will have fun in Charles H. Bronson State Forest. The trails are narrow and shaded which will make the hiking more enjoyable. The campsites themselves are large and remote enough for everyone to enjoy.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

In order to access the Florida Trail you can park at the Joshua Creek Trailhead. The parking lot is large enough for plenty of cars, so parking should not be an issue. Once you have parked you will take the .25-mile, Blue Connector Trail going northeast until you reach the Florida Trail.

In order to camp overnight you will need to obtain a State Forest Use Pass from the Little Big Econ State Forest Office which can be reached at (407) 971-3500.

Water can be collected at Joshua Creek and Christmas Creek, but be sure to filter and treat the water before consuming.

Be sure to check the forecast before heading out into the Charles H. Bronson State Forest. Because of the creeks running through the forest, the area can become muddy and hard to hike during heavy rain.

Location

Charles H. Bronson State Forest

Christmas, FL,
28.591337, -81.038461

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