The Florida Trail is a National Scenic Trail running through most of the state of Florida. As the trail is still under development, certain sections have gaps that need to be crossed through local roads or temporary diversions. Florida's rich bio-diversity makes the trail very unique in terms of environment. The overall difficulty of the Florida Trail is moderate. The terrain has challenging sections, but is mostly flat. The trail itself is very long, and towns are sparse, which will make a complete thru-hike more challenging. Thru-hikers will often start the hike at the southern terminus on New Year's Day.
Florida is considered a relatively flat state, but the terrain can still be challenging in other ways. In certain sections, hikers will need to slog through mud and water that could be up to waist-deep. Other parts have swamp forests which are likewise very difficult to trek through. There are also areas with much uneven and rugged terrain, which makes for a more difficult hike.
Natural water sources are generally plentiful along the trail, though there is always the risk that sources may dry up in drier years. For the most part, having a lightweight water filter will be sufficient for thru-hiking needs, but having a guidebook with detailed information on water sources and their reliability is important as well.
The available options of resupply are somewhat sparse. Certain sections will go for over 70 miles without any resupply options, and other will go similar distances where the only towns are 10 miles off the trail. It is very important to plan out these sections ahead of time with a proper guidebook, so that hikers are fully aware of how much food they need to carry in each section. Similarly, there are a few options for maildrops if needed. Resupplying on fuel is more difficult, and maildrops are probably the best option in that case.
While some may think of Florida as a tropical paradise, hikers will remember the state for its thick unrelenting humidity. Moisture like sweat will stick to the body and clothing, which can make cold temperatures feel much worse. Many hikers will also wear clothes that fully cover the skin, as it is easy to get sunburnt, even in cloudy conditions. Additionally, thunderstorms in Florida can become very intense, and it is usually recommended to find shelter and wait out a storm, rather than hike through it. These storms are more likely towards the end of the hiking season.
Maps are a necessity on the Florida Trail, and you can easily get lost without them. Although the trail is marked with orange blazes and signposts, there are a number of issues that make navigation more difficult. The blazes can be relatively infrequent, especially on longer roadwalks. Additionally, there are many side trails that are marked with many different colors. Sometimes the trail can lose its definition, particularly in the wetlands with low foot traffic, which can make navigation more confusing.
There is a lot of wildlife along the trail, including alligators, panthers, and venomous snakes. Attacks on humans are rare, but is animals like small dogs would be more tempting for alligators, so it is to avoid bringing pets on the trail. Basic preparation will usually keep hikers out of harm's way, but be sure to read about the wildlife before embarking on the hike. The other main risk is severe weather, especially intense thunder storms and lightning.
The trail is relatively unknown, and so long distance hikers will be mostly isolated. The traffic will pick up on weekends for day hikers during the peak hiking season, but otherwise there should be very little walking traffic on the trail.
For hikers starting at the southern terminus, the closest airports will be in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. You can then get to the start of the trail at the Oasis Visitor Center via taxi or Uber. The northern terminus is located close to Pensacola International airport, but a taxi would still be needed for direct access. See this post for more information on access to the trail via transportation.
For the majority of the nights on the trail, hikers will need to provide their own shelter. Most hikers will bring tents, but hammocks are also a viable option as long as it has very fine netting. There are also seven basic shelters along the trail that hikers can use. Towns are sporadic, so there are fewer options for more developed accommodation along the route.