Big Gum Swamp Wilderness


Map of Big Gum Swamp Wilderness

Map of Big Gum Swamp Wilderness

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Big Gum Wilderness sign

The 13,600-acre Big Gum Swamp Wilderness was designated by Congress in 1984. This large, nearly level area consists primarily of a poorly drained to very poorly drained freshwater swamp of cypress and gum. The surface is a thick, spongy mat of organic material, sluggishly cut by a few shallow sloughs. Longleaf and slash pine flatwoods with a dense understory of saw palmetto, gallberry, and bay form the perimeter of the swamp. Loggers made off with most of the original timber between 1915 and 1920, and earthen railroad trams, some of which are still visible, penetrated the interior. Over time, all signs of human intrusion into the swamp have greatly subsided. However, you might find remnants of naval stores or “turpentining” operations that began in the area in the late 1800s and early 1900s. A designated hiking trail makes a loop through the drier pine flatwoods of the perimeter on the west-northwestern side.

Boggy terrain, dense vegetation, insects, and warm, humid conditions make travel here extremely challenging - exacerbated by the fact that the trails are not maintained (your best bet is to follow one of the many old logging roads). Deer hunters are the most common visitors. On the northwest side, an old road tunnels through a stand of massive live oaks that tower overhead.

Big Gum Swamp Wilderness Big Gum Swamp Trail Big Gum Swamp butterfly Big Gum Swamp lizardtail Big Gum Swamp hatpins

At a Glance

Operational Hours: 24 hours
Area Amenities: Parking
Fees No fee charged.
Permit Info: No backpacking permits are required.
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 the 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: Lake City (21 miles)
Water: Non-potable from streams and ponds
Restroom: None
Operated By: US Forest Service

General Information


From Lake City: Head north for 1 mile on US 41. Turn right onto County Road 100A. Shortly after, turn left onto US441. Head north for approximately 10 miles. Turn right onto Northeast Drew Rd. The trailhead will be at the end of Northeast Drew, about 9 miles.

Topo Maps

Download free U.S. Forest Service Topo maps.

Buy maps online

Go to the National Forest Store.

Go to for online maps and other important Wilderness information.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



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Nature Viewing

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Parking Small pulloff near these coordinates
Areas & Activities


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