Point Washington State Forest
Point Washington State Forest is a 15,000-acre forest which is home to more than ten miles of trails to challenge bikers, hikers and nature lovers. One of the most popular is the route from Eastern Lake to Cassine Garden, where visitors to Point Washington may spot an endangered red-cockaded woodpecker or a gopher tortoise, a species of special concern to environmentalists.
Access to Point Washington State Forest is available at 9 designated public entrance points. Vehicular travel is allowed throughout the forest on open forest roads. Please refrain from blocking any closed roads or fire breaks.
The majority of the area consists of: sandhill, basin swamps/Titi drains, wet flatwoods, wet prairie and cypress swamps. Although much of Point Washington State Forest has been cut over, there are some excellent examples of intact sandhill ecosystems. Point Washington State Forest has 10 natural communities that can be found throughout the forest.
Several plants and animals that are listed as threatened, endangered or species of special concern exist on the Point Washington State Forest. Some of these rare species include: gopher tortoise, flatwoods salamander, white-topped pitcher plant (Sarracenia leucophylla) and the world's largest population of Curtiss sandgrass (Calamovilfa curtissii).
Point Washington State Forest is available to the public for various types of outdoor recreation. The forest is widely used for hunting, off-road bicycling and hiking.
Point Washington State Forest is part of the Point Washington Wildlife Management Area. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission regulates the hunting seasons and game limits on the forest.
The Eastern Lake Trail System was the first trail established on the forest. This trail system consists of three double-track loop trails. The hiker or bicyclist can travel the 3.5-, 5- or 10-mile loop. The Eastern Lake Bike/Hike Trail is included in the Florida Forest Service's Trailwalker Hiking Program. The trail system can be accessed at the parking lot and trailhead on County Road 395.
In addition, a greenway trail system that crosses the forest is being developed. This trail will provide connections to Grayton Beach State Park, Deer Lake State Park, Topsail Hill State Preserve, Butler Elementary School and numerous residential developments. Upon completion, this trail system will provide over 27 miles of trails for recreational use.
Overnight camping is available at Eastern Lake Campground, which is located near the 4-mile marker on the Eastern Lake Trail. There are four primitive campsites. The area is ideal for paddlers and paddle boarders to access Eastern Lake and paddle south to the beach and Gulf of Mexico. Camping reservations are available by contacting (850) 547-7083 or the forest at (850) 267-8325.