Tallahassee, FL: River Bluff Trail Loop

Rolling up and down 150-foot bluffs along the Apalachicola River, this 6.1-mile loop offers a uniquely hilly Florida hiking experience.
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Rolling up and down 150-foot bluffs along the Apalachicola River, this 6.1-mile loop offers a uniquely hilly Florida hiking experience.

Starting from the Gregory House, a Civil War era plantation in Torreya State Park (home to the infamous "stinking cedar"), pick up the River Bluff Loop overlooking the Apalachicola River and head southeast atop a bluff. The trail offers intermittent views through the canopy to the river below and a hardwood forest on the far shore. After 1.6 miles, a short side trip leads to the trickling Weeping Ridge Waterfall. After backtracking to the main loop, the trail descends down to the banks of the river, where a handful of sandy campsites offer relative isolation not far from the trail. Heading inland and uphill, the trail tours some of Torreya’s unique ravine rock formations before synching back up with the road for a 1.25-mile walk back to the trailhead.

-Mapped by Christopher Harper

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 9.8

Waypoints

RBL001

Location: 30.5754662, -84.9487534

Park in front of the Gregory House, a Civil War era plantation mansion (tours are given daily). Walk behind the house to reach the trailhead.

RBL002

Location: 30.5770302, -84.9489899

Just behind the Gregory House, the River Bluff Trail starts with a fantastic overlook of the Apalachicola River and the hardwood forests of the Northern Panhandle. Proceed a short distance to the east-northeast to the trailhead sign and a connector trail (this trail can be accessed at several points).

RBL003

Location: 30.5782928, -84.9472809

Continue straight @ 3-way junction, continuing northeast on the trail. Ahead you will pass several Confederate gun emplacements used during the Civil War.

RBL004

Location: 30.5790081, -84.9462891

Bear left @ 3-way junction. Here, the trail runs along the bluff a few hundred feet above the river. At a few spots along the way, you can peek through the trees for phenomenal views of the river.

RBL005

Location: 30.5760841, -84.9513779

Continue south-southwest along the trail @ Y-junction.

RBL006

Location: 30.5665932, -84.9542465

Turn left @ junction onto a side trail, which detours 1.2 miles (round-trip) to the Weeping Ridge Waterfall.

RBL007

Location: 30.5681918, -84.9505377

Turn right @ T-junction onto the Weeping Ridge Trail, and continue south on the trail.

RBL008

Location: 30.5647368, -84.9515462

Weeping Ridge Waterfall: A small creek flows over the rocks, dropping 25 feet into a small pool. The flow of the falls can be heavily impacted by extended drought. Soak it in, and then backtrack to Waypoint 6 and bear left to continue west on the trail.

RBL009

Location: 30.5649738, -84.9596252

Turn left at the trail sign and proceed a short distance south to pick up the trail. To the northwest, there are several good spots to set up camp along the sandy banks of the Apalachicola.

RBL010

Location: 30.5642986, -84.9597549

Turn left @ T-intersection and continue past a primitive campsite (with a portable outhouse), heading east along the trail.

RBL011

Location: 30.5603733, -84.9551086

Turn left @ Y-junction and continue southeast on trail.

RBL012

Location: 30.5603733, -84.9551086

After crossing an old dirt road, continue southeast along the trail. Here the forest changes slightly to a pine-hardwood mix.

RBL013

Location: 30.5554613, -84.9502373

Before continuing north along the trail, take some time to explore the signature ravine rock formations and a nearby rock outcropping that juts out 40-50 feet over the ravine.

RBL014

Location: 30.5588284, -84.9497223

The trail ends at the park road. Proceed north along the road for a 1.25-mile hike back to the Gregory House. For an extended return trip on trail, continue across the road to pick up the River Bluff Loop as it heads north. This extension would add approximately 4 miles to the trip.

Tree Tops

Location: 30.5783528, -84.9484348

Pine and hardwood forest of north Florida on the Appalachicola River. ©Christopher Harper

Gregory House

Location: 30.5754709, -84.9485421

A plantation era home located in the park. ©Christopher Harper

Appalachicola River

Location: 30.5787593, -84.9471259

©Christopher Harper

Sandy Camp

Location: 30.5654758, -84.9602795

A campsite near the midpoint of the trail. ©Christopher Harper

Fellow Backpackers

Location: 30.5650139, -84.9603009

Fellow hikers camping along the river. ©Christopher Harper

Rocks Everywhere

Location: 30.5554428, -84.95013

One of many rock formations found in the park's many ravines. ©Christopher Harper