Hike Location: Bald
Point State Park
Geographic Location: southeast of Panacea, FL (29.93479, -84.33680)
Length: 1.4 miles
Difficulty: 1/10 (Easy)
Last Hiked: December 2012
Overview: A loop hike on old woods roads featuring several small ponds.
Park Information: https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/bald-point-state-park
Hike Route Map: http://www.mappedometer.com/?maproute=146404
Directions to the trailhead: From Panacea, drive south on US 98 5 miles to CR 370. Turn left on CR 370. Drive CR 370 5 miles to
Bald Point Road and turn left on Bald Point Road. Drive Bald Point Rd.3 miles to the park entrance, then backtrack 0.2 miles to the beginning of the Double Pond Trail on the west side of the road. A brown sign bearing the universal hiking symbol marks this point. Park along the side of the road, taking care to avoid soft areas in the road’s sandy shoulder.
The hike: Forming a wide peninsula that juts east from the mainland, Bald Point is bordered on the north by
, on the east by the much larger Ocklockonee Bay , and on the south by the Apalachee Bay Gulf of Mexico. As you may have noticed on the drive in, most of Bald Point’s oceanfront property has succumbed to housing developments. Fortunately, in 1999 the State of Florida saw fit to protect 4800 acres of beach and coastal marsh area by forming on the northeastern corner of Bald Point. Bald Point State Park
Most park visitors see only one of the two beach areas protected within the park, but the vast majority of the state park protects woodland and marshland away from the beachfront. The park is largely void of development except for the beach areas and trails, and the park’s trail system includes both canoe trails and hiking trails. Among the four hiking trails, the most significant is the 5.5 mile Tucker
Loop around , a freshwater lake. I arrived at the park late in the afternoon with only a couple of hours of daylight remaining, so I chose to hike the shorter Double Pond Loop described here. The Double Pond Loop provides much the same rewards as the park’s longer trails but does so in a smaller package. Lake Tucker
|Trailhead: Double Pond Loop|
The sandy double-track trail heads west with a sparse canopy of slash and loblolly pines on either side. This trail makes for a hot and sunny hike in the summer, so sunscreen and drinking water are necessities in season. Wooden posts bearing orange blazes mark the trail.
|Intersection of old woods road|
The trail gradually curves left to begin heading south. At 0.5 miles, you get your first glimpse of the ponds that give this trail its name. Water is all around you along most of this trail, but the understory is so dense that you cannot see it most of the time. Also, signs on wooden posts mark distances along this trail at 0.5 mile increments.
|View of pond near Mullett Pond|
|Deer beside trail|
|Final leg of Double Pond Loop|