An 8.8-mile loop trail, or a 6.4-mile out and back hike.
Joshua Creek Trailhead 3563 Phillips Rd Christmas, FL 32709
Some of the newly routed 7-mile section of the Florida trail through Bronson is on open prairie. But I’ve identified a 3.2-mile section — out and back for a total of 6.4 miles.
Should we choose to do the whole loop (that’s so much better than tracing your way back the same way we came in.) it’s really only just 2.6 extra miles, because the complete loop is only 9 miles. So, barring any complications I see us taking the full loop!
We will start at the Joshua Creek trailhead on Phillips road in Christmas at around 9:00 AM. I know that sounds like a holiday hike, it’s not – It’s a hike in Christmas Florida. There’s plenty of parking there, we’ll choose a spot based on exit sun and start the fun. If we start at 9:am and do the full loop, we should be out, after stopping for a terrific lunch, at 2:pm since we walk in Florida at about 2.2 miles per hour.
About the hike:
The forest supports a variety of wildlife, including cow, deer, turkey, gray squirrel, alligator, Sherman’s fox squirrel, gopher tortoise, bald eagle, roseate spoonbill, sandhill crane and wood stork among many other birds.
We will mostly be hiking on the Florida Trail, but will also be hiking on (2) blue blazed connector trails and the white trail. The hike is so varied. Some of it is through rugged thick forest, but most of it is on wide, soft, open walking areas, most of which is shaded.
The trail is mostly dry, and there are well made boardwalks with three 6 inch or three 8 inch planks providing wide dry passage over the wet spots.
Lots of flowers and unusual vegetation can be spotted here, we saw Blooming Pitcher Plants (picture below) and I’ve heard of wild blooming orchids popping up around the trail!
The Charles H. Bronson State Forest offers primitive campsites located on the Joshua Creek Tract. Overnight parking for camping is located at the Joshua Creek Trailhead at the end of Phillips Road. The primitive campsites can only be accessed from the hiking trail.
For more information, please visit Charles H. Bronson State Forest Primitive Camping.
Overnight camping is allowed by obtaining a State Forest Use Permit available at the Little Big Econ State Forest office. To get a State Forest Use Permit, please call the forest at (407) 971-3500 or email the Charles H. Bronson State Forest.
Hunting and Fishing:
Hunting and fishing on the Charles H. Bronson State Forest is regulated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The Charles H. Bronson State Forest is open for hunting and is a Wildlife Management Area that is managed cooperatively by the Florida Forest Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Please check the Charles H. Bronson Wildlife Management Area Hunting Brochure for dates. Wildlife hunted on the forest includes deer, ducks, hogs, rabbits, squirrels and turkeys.
Fishing is a popular activity along the St. Johns Rivers, where largemouth bass, catfish, crappie, bluegill and other fish are frequently caught.
For an incredibly detailed map click here.
For directions to the Phelps Road Trailhead click here.
The long and short of it, highlighted – click here.
Primitive campsite map – click here.