If you and your pooch are looking for a multi-day backpacking trip in the Sunshine State, then look no further than the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross-Florida Greenway! This furrific trail runs for a whopping 110 miles from the Gulf of Mexico near Yankeetown to St. John’s River south of Pakata. There’s no need to go the whole way if you don’t want to -- there are many exit and entry points along the trail. The greenway is actually about a mile wide on average along the route, and you’ll find several spots for camping. You and your pooch can pitch your tent at Ross Prairie, Santos, and the Shangri-La Trailheads, among others. There’s parking at all trailheads, and though capacity varies, most parking is free.
As you might imagine, the scenery on the Cross-Florida Greenway varies significantly, from the tropical trees of Ross Prairie State Forest to wetlands full of feathered critters to paved stretches through pristine parkland. If you decide to stray from the path, you’ll find some other pawesome loop trails leading off the main branch, and several of the parks en route have playgrounds for two-legged family members. You’d have to be barking mad to miss the fantastic, 2,000-foot landbridge over I-75 near Belleview, an amazing feat of engineering that doubles as a planter for tall oaks and palmettos. The walkway is lined by limestone walls to keep curious hikers from falling into traffic. Don’t look down!
Elevation on the greenway varies between the 70-feet and 100-feet mark, and most inclines are gradual. In terms of accessibility, some stretches are paved and some aren’t, so be sure to look up a map before you go if uneven surfaces are likely to pose a problem for you and your buddy. In terms of facilities, there are water fountains and restrooms dotted along the trail, and you’ll be able to stop off in nearby towns to pick up provisions. Remember to bring waste bags for your furry friend, and have a grrreat trip!