Location: Keystone Heights, Fl
We’re almost done with the hot and humid Florida summer weather, which means camping time is near. Gold Head Branch State Park is a place we visited probably 15+ years ago, but we’ve never camped here. So, we decided to do a day trip to check it out and see if this was a place we wanted to add to our list of camping locations. Plus, the Florida Scenic Trail runs through this park and Julie and I like to hike short sections of the trail whenever we get a chance.
Gold Head Branch is about an hours drive from our house. So, it would be a close location for weekend camping trips. They have three separate camping loops and each has a different look and feel. The Sand Hill camping loop looked the best to us and had many level sites with good spacing between each. We definitely could see ourselves camping here for a weekend.
The park has a lot of nice winding roads that would be good for biking. When we do come here to camp, we will definitely bring our bikes.
After checking out the campground loops and the cabin area, we parked at the main day use area parking lot and located the Florida Trail. We hiked the Florida trail for about three miles which took us back up to the park’s main gate. Instead of back tracking, we walked some of the park roads back into the park and picked up some of the other trails they have here. We did a total of about 6 miles, which was enough on this increasingly humid morning!
Here’s the parking area which was not very crowded on this Sunday morning.
Gold Head Branch State Park was developed back in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Their work can be found throughout the park and many of the buildings had these plaques.
The water levels in this area of Florida are way down. Partly from drought and also from increased development. So, all the lakes are much lower than their previous levels. Actually most of the lakes in this park are now ponds. They did have the swimming area closed for awhile, but the levels have come back up some, so the swimming beach has reopened.
Here’s our GPS track of the hike we did today.Gold Head Branch State Park at EveryTrail
This beetle was parading along our trail as we were hiking by. So, had to grab a short video.