Billies Bay Wilderness

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Swamp forest along the Florida Trail

Legend has it that the Seminole warrior Billie Bowlegs hid out in this swamp, from which the headwaters of Alexander Springs arises. 

Old-timers refer to swamps as "bays" and this one is a prime example of a pristine Florida swamp.  In the interior of this 3,092-acre swamp, red maple, loblolly bay, sweetgum, cabbage palms and loblolly pine filter the sunlight, and on the drier perimeter are longleaf pine and slash pine. A dense understory of palmetto and gallberry hides the swampy interior and discourages any attempts at bushwhacking.

There are no trails or old roads in Billies Bay, but a section of Florida Trail between Alexander Springs and SR 19 skirts the southwestern corner of the wilderness, so hikers can gaze into the wilderness and imagine the size of the alligators.

At a Glance

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.
Checking in at a district office is a good idea, to inform someone of your travel plans and get the latest info on weather conditions. The staff can also inform you about any campfire ban in effect during times of high fire danger.
Closest Towns: Astor (9 miles)
Information Center: View an interactive map of the wilderness area on

General Information


This is an extremely inaccessible area.


Billies Bay Wilderness lies west of Alexander Springs Recreation Area, east of CR 445-A, east of SR 19, and west of CR 445. It is bordered by Sandhill Pond off SR 19 and the Florida Trail on its southern edge.  

General Notes:

Motorized vehicles are not permitted in wilderness areas.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Nature Viewing

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