Known as one of the most scenic hikes in North Florida, the Big Oak Trail can be found off of US 90, a few miles west of Live Oak, Florida on I-10. This scenic trail encounters high rising bluffs overlooking the Suwannee River. It also overlooks the scenic Withlacoochee River, not to be confused with the central Florida river of the same name. This Withlacoochee River flows down from Georgia and the Okefenokee Swamp. The two rivers converge on a small peninsula within the parks boundaries.
Much of the 11+ miles of loop hiking trail parallels these two beautiful rivers high above rocky bluffs and limestone outcroppings. A variety of shorter loops can be done by parking at the Drew Mansion Ruins farther up US 90.
While this hike can be shortened, it’s best to take this hike as an overnight trip. There is a great hike-in only campsite overlooking the river on top of a high bluff beneath large oaks. A fire ring and primitive camping is the only amenity, so bring your own water and supplies.
One of the highlights of this great hike is the great oak. Named after the trail, this giant oak tree is an old growth live oak, well over 500 years old. It takes about eight or so people to hold hands around the base of the tree. It was here long before the Drew Mansion was built and ruined.
Another cool feature of this great hiking park is the Drew Mansion Ruins. While little remains of this once opulent mansion and plantation, broken bricks, shards of colored glass and crumbling foundations can still be spotted in the overgrowth. The forest has long since claimed the mansion.
A hike across the old US 90 bridge completes the loop trail of this fantastic journey that takes you through old growth forests, ghost towns and along soaring river bluffs. A unique and unusual place in North Florida, The Big Oak Trail is a must see hike in Florida.