What we're about

This group is designed for people who love to get outdoors to hike, backpack, paddle, and give back by way of volunteer trail maintenance.

Joining this Meetup does not constitute membership in the FTA and unless specifically mentioned, you are not required to hold an FTA membership to participate. Events which are FTA Members Only will be clearly indicated.

The Suncoast Chapter serves over 500 FTA members in Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties. We maintain The Florida National Scenic Trail between US 98 north of Lakeland and Hernando.

Within these boundaries we also maintain a section of the Florida Trail Western Corridor which encompasses the Citrus, Croom, Richloam Tracts within Withlacoochee State Forest, and Green Swamp West, as well as popular loop trails within these tracts.

http://floridahikes.com/florida-trail/weste... (http://floridahikes.com/florida-trail/western-corridor)

Trail systems that we also are responsible for include Hillsborough River State Park, Little Manatee State Park, Myakka River State Park, Potts Preserve, Upper Hillsborough WMA, Terra Ceia Preserve State Park, and Withlacoochee River Park.

Our chapter regularly maintains over 200 miles of trail and offers recreational and volunteer work events throughout the region.

We work in cooperation with the US Forest Service, State Forest Service, SWFWMD, DEP, and other land managers to keep the Florida National Scenic Trail, the Western Corridor, and designated side trails open for recreational use.

We sponsor many events on non FTA designated land tracts, trail systems and waterways.


Certain risks are inherent in any Florida Trail Association, Inc (the "Association") activity. Each Association member, guest, or non-member participant agrees to accept personal responsibility for his or her safety, and the safety of minors accompanying such persons.

The Association cannot ensure the safety of any participants on hikes or activities. In participating in Association activities, each such person agrees to hold harmless and free from blame the Activity Leader(s) and the Association, its officers, directors, and members, for any accident, injury, or illness which might be sustained from participating in hikes or other Association activities. Neither the Association, Activity Leaders, nor land managers are in any way liable for any injury or illness I might sustain from participating in an Association activity.

By joining the Suncoast Chapter Meetup Group you are agreeing to the assumption of risk as stated above.


http://www.floridatrail.org/make-a-differen... (http://www.floridatrail.org/make-a-difference/become-a-member/)


Upcoming events (5)

IDIDAHIKE 2019 ! To support the Florida National Scenic Trail

Spirit of the Suwanee Music Park

Come hike a new Ididahike section of the Florida National Scenic Trail along the historic and beautiful Suwannee River. Last year the Ididahike donated $5000 to the Florida Trail Association. This coming year we are bringing the wildly successful event to a new and exciting location, Spirit of the Suwannee Campground and Music Park. For those of you that are not familiar with the Spirit of the Suwannee here is a link https://www.musicliveshere.com. The park is famous for its numerous outdoor music festivals. It borders the Suwannee River with its many hiking trails, as well as access to the Florida National Scenic Trail, Florida's equivalent to the famous Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails. Many of the North Florida Trailblazers FT chapter will be camping and RVing at the park Thursday thru Monday to set up and run this event. We invite all hikers and campers to come out and make the Ididahike a part of a weekend or long weekend. The Trailblazers will also organize short day hikes on Friday and Sunday for those interested. The Ididahike main event begins and ends at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park and will be approximately 11 miles with first aid and take out stations to be announced in a later post. Participants will pay $20 and register at the main gate of Spirit of the Suwannee Campground and Music Park. You will be shuttled via bus to Jerry Branch, a Suwannee River Water Management access point to the river and trail. This time of year dogwoods, wild Azaleas, fringe flowers and many others will be in full bloom. The hike passes High above Jerry Branch, passes Disappearing Creek a beautiful clear creek that cuts a narrow canyon which cascades into a 25 foot wall of rock and disappears. Continuing on hikers cross Crooked branch then climbs on high to the highest bluff on the Suwannee River. From this perch you may look out over the top of the trees on the opposite bank and peer down on the historic Suwannee below. Hiking down river, the trail passes numerous rock outcrops 20 and 30 feet above the river along with beautiful white sandbars offering great places to take a break. Near the end of the hike participants will cross the Suwannee on the old 129 Truss bridge and have the option to visit the ruins of the historic Suwannee mineral Spring before they finish. Please come join the North Florida Trailblazers Chapter on Friday night for a FTA group campfire. Spirit of the Suwannee offers a wide range of accommodations including 600 improved campsites, comfortable cabins, live music Friday and Saturday, a fully stocked bar and restaurant. Please call Carol Walker at Spirit of the Suwannee for a 10% discount for camping accommodations RSVP's are just FYI so you can see who from our chapter has an interest in this event. Other FTA chapters have posted the same info on their respective sites.

Myakka River State Park Work Party

Myakka River State Park

The Myakka River State Park section of the Florida Trail Association will be doing trail maintenance which includes lopping, touching up on trail blazes and other minor work. We will be working while hiking approximately 5 miles. NO CAMPING IS PROVIDED AT THIS WORK PARTY On Saturday morning, please meet in the first parking lot on the right after the Ranger Station (entrance) at 8:15am. Tell the Park Ranger you are with the FTA and the entrance fee will be waived. For the day you will need to carry a drink, food, sun and bug protection. Gloves are handy, along with loppers if you have them. Contact Bill at (941)[masked] for any other questions. Directions to Myakka River State Park: From I-75 exit 205 travel east on Clark Rd (SR72) for approximately 9 miles the park entrance will be on the left side of the road. Other upcoming work service projects at Myakka River State Park: November 30th – Dec 2nd January 4th – 6th February 1st – 3rd March 2nd

Croom 27 Mile Backpacking Adventure

Croom Rital Road


Croom 27-mile backpacking adventure TRIP DETAILS: This will be a strenuous 2 night, 3 day backpacking challenge encompassing the A, B and C loops of the Croom Tract of the Withlacoochee State Forest. This hike will occur over 3 days with a total mileage of 27 miles and will showcase extreme contrasts in habitats, with predominantly open (sunny) rolling sandhill, as well shady hardwood hammocks and forested cypress wetland edges. We will be staying at primitive campsites. The first night we will have access to running water, the second night has an unreliable water source which we will supplement with cached water. DAY 1 (FRIDAY) - 5.2 mi. We will meet at 9 am at the Ridge Manor trailhead and walk the River Trail along the Withlacoochee R. to Crooked River Campround. https://floridasadventurecoast.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Croom-River-Trail-Brochure.pdf ***Note:*** you may have the option to arrive after this portion of the hike and start your adventure from the Crooked River campground IF you commit to camping Friday night so we do not lose money on our camping reservations or create issues with an early start Sat morning. This option will be further dependent upon the total number of people hiking and clearance with the hike leaders. Please let us know if this is your preference. DAY 2 (SATURDAY) - 10.7 mi (A loop) We will walk from Crooked Rived Campground along a portion of the FL Trail connecting with the Low water trail at Silver Lake and then High Water Trail to the B Loop and then to the A loop to the western primitive campsite north of the Tucker Hill Fire Tower. DAY 3 (SUNDAY) - 12 mi. We will hike the B and C loop back to the Crooked River Campground overflow parking area. https://floridasadventurecoast.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Croom-Hiking-Trail-Brochure.pdf This hike is rated strenuous… Limited to 20 backpacker plus leaders. This hike is not for beginner backpackers or anyone with health limitations of any kind. You are responsible for and must be in the physical condition to carry all you will need for multiple high mileage days for the duration of the 27 mile hike. You will need and be responsible for all necessary food and means to prepare it, appropriate backpacking gear, sleep system, clothes and shoes that will be weather appropriate for Florida’s unpredictable Spring weather. You should be comfortable and practiced enough with your backpacking gear to set up and breakdown daily under all kinds of weather conditions which could include wind, rain, cold temps, and hot humid weather. March average maximum daytime temperature generally around 75-80 degrees F,with the average minimum temperature of 55-60 degrees F. On average, 8 hours of sunshine per day. Cold snaps are common and hypothermia is possible, if not prepared with proper gear. Water will be available at both the Crooked River site (sorry no electric) and at the western primitive campsite. We will cache 1-2 gal per person at the latter site. 3 liters per day is recommended for longer mileage days. We shall stay fairly close together in-between the appointed lead and sweep hiker for the group. This is a group event, NOT an individual event. If this does not fit your hiking style, please do not sign up for this event. **NOTE** Getting on the waitlist for this challenge merely means that you have an interest and intent to accept the challenge should you be selected as going. Please read all the info about this event before hitting the yes to going button! Once you do, please answer the associated questions in order to get off the waitlist. This will give me and the other hike leaders of the event a chance to evaluate your ability to participate. Those who have backpacked or long distance hiked on FTA events with leaders such as Lenny C, Gordy H, Darren M, Tracy S and Kevin will be considered as well... I will be direct messaging some of you with questions about your gear and backpacking experience. ***All RSVP’s*** Participants are subject to approval or denial to participate in this activity by its group leaders at any time. Leaders reserve the right to contact and remove members they feel are not adequately trained or prepared prior to or during the challenge. One must willingly sign all provided liability forms, adhere to all rules or decisions of the events leaders prior to and during the event. Cost covers camping fees, additional water and firewood An actual attending list will be configured one week prior so those folks can plan for, final train and get any last minute gear possibly needed for the trip. Hike Leaders: Karen Hill, Kathy Porupski, and Traci Lynn Short. Event Support: Any questions or interested FTA leaders that would like to participate or help with logistics feel free to contact me via Meetup Private Messages or email [masked] Happy Trails, Karen Hill ~ FTA member and Activity Leader

Western Gate Hiking Events on the Florida National Scenic Trail

Contact info at bottom of page..... Panhandle Trace Hiking Events The Western Gate Chapter (Florida Trail Association) is hosting two 3-day week-end hiking events to introduce the public and all Florida Trail enthusiasts to the northern sections of the FT. Come join the fun and explore the longleaf pine habitat with its lakes and beautiful streams and rivers or the Yellow River Ravines area which provides a true wilderness hiking experience. Daily guided hikes ranging in length from 7 to 11 miles will be offered with support available to shorten hikes if desired. March 29-31 Hike Yellow River Ravines -hike from Holt to Harold, FL on a wilderness hike with multiple stream crossings, learn more about steepheads with their own micro-climate, and enjoy the rustic beauty and multitude of flowering trees and shrubs of north Florida in the springtime. Western Gate camping host will be at Blackwater River State Park. Make camping reservations through Reserve America https://www.reserveamerica.com/ April 5 – 7 Hike the Piney Woods – hike to the northern terminus of the FT, enjoy a lake-to-lake hike, and explore trails along the Blackwater River. Enjoy the diversity of wildflowers including pitcher plants, native azalea, dogwood, Florida anise, and mountain laurel. Western Gate camping host will be at Hurricane Lake Recreation area in Blackwater River State Forest, with other options for camping in the Forest at Bear Lake, Karick Lake or Krul Lake. Make camping reservations through Reserve America https://www.reserveamerica.com/ For additional detailed information, contact Helen Wigersma ([masked]) or see the Western Gate Chapter Meetup site: https://www.meetup.com/ftawesterngate/

Past events (1,080)

2nd Annual Citrus 43 Mile 4 Day Backpacking Challenge

Withlacoochee State Forest - Citrus Tract, Holder Mine Trailhead Trail 10, Inverness , FL

Photos (36,871)