Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is a Triple Natural Wonder. Why? Because it offers 10 miles of the (1) Florida National Scenic Trail, 19 miles of the (2) St. Johns River, and it is a designated site on the (3) Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail.
Tosohatchee WMA protects more than 30,000 acres of eastern central Florida, including 19 miles of pristine waterfront along the St. Johns River. It’s part of a patchwork of federal, state, county and city lands that form a gorgeous green corridor. A broad diversity of natural communities attracts a wide variety of plants and animals, including rare and endangered species.
As a designated site on the Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail, Tosohatchee offers more than 200 bird species, including 8 of the top 20 most sought-after birds, plus butterflies, dragonflies, American alligators, Florida black bear, white-tailed deer and many other creatures. This area is the northernmost limit of sensitive cutthroat grass, as well as Endangered hand ferns.
There are more than 60 miles of trails networked throughout Tosohatchee, including 10 miles of the Florida National Scenic Trail. Day hikers and backpackers are warned to be aware of hunting seasons, as this is a Wildlife Management Area, not a refuge. Only the southern Taylor Creek area of the WMA is closed to hunting. You really don’t want to be mistaken for wildlife during hunting season, so check out the Hunt Dates.
Another popular way to experience Tosohatchee is driving the 22 ½ mile loop that I took, with a side trip to Lake Charlie included. It’s a great way to get an overview of all the opportunities this awesome patch of natural land offers. There are many trail crossings and trailheads with parking areas along the route, so you could spend days exploring all the nooks and crannies. Or you could make a half-day trip out of it, as I did.
Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area