2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on

Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – December 2001

Hike Florida's Prairie On The Myakka Trail

Hike the Myakka Trail for a glimpse of the Sunshine State's wild and grassy past.

by: Johnny Molloy

PAGE 1 2

Expedition Planner: Myakka River State park, FL

DRIVE TIME: Myakka River State Park is 1 1/2 hours (70 miles) south of Tampa and 2 1/2 hours (130 miles) from Orlando.

THE WAY: From Tampa, take I-75 south for 60 miles to Sarasota and exit 37 (Clark Road). Head east on Clark Road (FL 72) for 9 miles to Myakka River State Park.

TRAILS: The Myakka Trail makes a 39-mile circuit, with numerous shorter loop options available. Combine backpacking and paddling by canoeing the Myakka River between the Lower and Upper Myakka Lakes. A backcountry fee of $3 per night for adults and $2 per night for children under 18 is required for camping (see Contact below).

DAYHIKE: For a good sampling of hammock and prairie ecosystems, start at the main trailhead near Upper Myakka Lake and hike the 6-mile Bee Island Loop around the Mossy Hammock campsite (return on Fox High Road, a dirt track closed to vehicles).

ELEVATION: The elevation imperceptibly shifts from a high of 40 feet atop the prairie down to about 25 feet near Upper Myakka Lake.

CAN'T MISS: Walking the sharp ecological border where the lush Deer Prairie Slough meets the dry, open prairie.

CROWD CONTROL: Winter is the best time to hike here (November to January); you'll share a backcountry campsite with others only on weekends. Spring is more crowded; secure reservations for backcountry campsites at least a week in advance.

GUIDES: A free, comprehensive trail map is available at the park ranger station (see Contact below). A Hiking Guide to the Trails of Florida, by Elizabeth F. Carter (Menasha Ridge Press, 800-247-9437; ; $12.95).

WALK SOFTLY: Campfires are permitted, but should be avoided, as the prairie is usually tinder-dry in winter. The Myakka River is home to the endangered wood stork. Admire wildlife from a distance and don't disturb nests.

CONTACT: Myakka River State Park, (941) 361-6511; .

PAGE 1 2

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Address 1:
Address 2:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -


Jun 22, 2011

Have hiked portion of Myakka trail. Highly recommend it, it does represent the true Florida. Enjoy!


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Trailhead Register
Posted On: Sep 02, 2014
Submitted By: JimInMD
Trailhead Register
New random photo thread.
Posted On: Sep 02, 2014
Submitted By: RebeccaD
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions