Bradwell Bay Wilderness

Area Status: Open

Trail leading into the forest.

A swamp thick with titi trees, distinguished by their leathery leaves and fragrant white flowers, dominates the second largest Wilderness in Florida. Here, you'll also find a swampland of hardwoods or pine-titi mixtures and small ponds that are either open or covered with aquatic plants.

The climate is subtropical, and rainfall averages 55 inches per year. Summers are hot and sticky with humidity, but temperatures have been known to drop into the teens come winter. Bradwell Bay's low areas are generally submerged beneath one to four inches of standing water. The water table lies close to, if not above, ground surface over most of this flat Wilderness. Drier islands of longleaf pine and wire grass border parts of the swamp. White-tailed deer, black bears and alligators top the food chain.

With sufficient rainfall, canoeists can run the Sopchoppy River (area is unavailable), which defines the eastern edge of the area. Hikers can follow old logging roadbeds or take the east-west Florida National Scenic Trail through Bradwell Bay. Truth is, however, that hikers who opt to use the well-marked trail typically end up wading through sections of waist-deep water.


  • The Florida National Scenic Trail runs through Bradwell Bay for over 12 miles, with a shorter 6-mile day-hike possible. Very few good campsites exist along the trail. Suitability varies by season.

Boating - Non-motorized

  • The upper reaches of the Sopchoppy River (area is unavailable) can be accessed via kayak or canoe when water levels are high enough (usually around 10.5 feet). Make sure to check the USGS stream gage before planning a trip.


  • Many people enjoy the solitude and primitive experience of dispersed/primitive camping, but additional skills are needed for a successful trip. Know your limits and abilities before you try this experience. Certain rules and regulations will make your experience safe and ensure settings remain scenic and unspoiled. 
  • Please review our dispersed camping website before heading out


  • Visit to learn why wilderness areas are precious and important. 

Clean Air and Bradwell Bay

  • Bradwell Bay is a Class I Area as set forth in the Clean Air Act. This means we have a responsibility to protect air quality related values within the area, and to consider whether new emissions from proposed major facilties will have an adverse impact on those values. To learn more, please visit the Southern Research Station's Air Resource Management page.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Always check local weather conditions with NOAA's National Weather Service for the Sopchoppy area before heading into the wilderness.
Operational Hours: 24 hours
Fees: Free
Usage: Light
  • Motorized vehicles are not permitted.
  • Visitors must pack out any waste.
  • Follow Leave No Trace principles: pack it in, pack it out; do not disturb wildlife; leave what you find; camp and travel on durable surfaces; minimize use and impact of campfires; and be sure to let someone know where you’re going.
Closest Towns: Sopchoppy

General Information


From Sopchoppy

  • At the intersection of Crawdfordville Highway (US319) and Rose Street in Sopchoppy, keep right on Rose Street for 0.1 mile.
  • Turn right onto Railroad Avenue. After about 1.3 miles, the name of the road will change to Oak Park Road. Continue on this road for another 5 miles.
  • Turn left onto Forest Road 349.
  • After another 2 miles, turn left onto Forest Road 348.
  • Take the first left (about 0.6 miles) onto Forest Road 329.
  • The Florida Trail trailhead will be on your left.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Dispersed Camping

Day Hiking


Boating - Non-Motorized

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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