Someone recommended the Black Bear Wilderness Trail in Sanford to me a while ago, but I’ll be honest, the notion of running into a bear scared me a little. I finally mustered up the courage to hike this trail on my own last weekend, and my only regret was not doing it sooner.
I got there shortly after sunrise. If you are taking 429 north, it takes you almost to the trailhead, you just take a left on Michigan Avenue and follow the signage.
I was glad I arrived early because it took a few hours to complete this 7 mile loop, and it started to get hot later in the morning. I think trail is moderately difficult due to large root systems and the fact that I’m a klutz, but the trail is well marked.
Along the trail you will find tropical rainforests, huge palm and cypress trees of old Florida, and scenic views of swap areas as well as the St John’s River. There are many boardwalks across the water and very swampy areas, and they are currently building more to run along the riverfront.
Wear proper hiking boots if you have them, it will help you navigate a few muddy areas and climbing over the roots. It took me about 3 hours but I stopped often to take photos and enjoy the view. There’s a small picnic area around the halfway mark if you want to pack a lunch and take a break.
I got a few mosquito bites, but no bear bites, so that’s just fine with me. I’d recommend using bug spray, and bringing plenty of water, especially on hot days. The trail can take a few hours so, pack a few snacks for the road and bring your phone or a camera to take photos along the way.