Goethe State Forest

Location | Natural Features | Recreation | Contacts

Goethe State Forest was named for Mr. J.T. Goethe, from whom most of the land was purchased under Florida's Conservation and Recreation Lands (CARL) Program in 1992. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Florida Forest Service, was given lead management responsibility for the Goethe State Forest. Using sound forest management, the Florida Forest Service provides for multiple uses of the forest resources. The forest is managed for timber production, wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation and ecological restoration.


The main area of Goethe State Forest is located in the southeastern portion of Levy County near the Gulf of Mexico. A smaller area of Goethe State Forest, called Watermelon Pond Unit, is separate from the main tract and is located in both Levy and Alachua counties.

Natural Features

Goethe State Forest has more than 15 different natural communities. A few examples are scrubby flatwoods, dome swamp, sandhill and basin swamp. Goethe State Forest may contain the largest tract of contiguous, old-growth longleaf pine flatwoods in the state.

This extensive old-growth forest has one of the largest red-cockaded woodpecker populations on state lands in Florida. Other rare animal species found on the forest include the Florida black bear, gopher tortoise, Sherman's fox squirrel and bald eagle.

Prescribed burning is one of the most effective and frequently used tools in managing Goethe State Forest. Many natural communities and their inhabitants are dependent on fire for their very survival. Absence of fire results in the loss or alteration of native plant and animal species composition and the possibility of uncontrollable, devastating wildfires.


The Goethe Trail System extends throughout the forest with access available at three separate trailheads. The forest is open during daylight hours for visitors to enjoy picnicking, hiking, bicycling, fishing, wildlife viewing and horseback riding. All horseback riders must have proof of current negative Coggins test results for their horses when on state lands. Overnight camping is allowed by permit only. However, private campgrounds are located near the forest. Goethe State Forest contains two hiking trails (Tidewater and Black Prong) that are included in the Florida Forest Service's Trailwalker Hiking Program.

Goethe State Forest is open to regulated hunting and fishing under the direction of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). We encourage non-hunting recreationists to check FWC's Goethe Wildlife Management Area regulations and season dates before visiting Goethe State Forest. In 2010 FWC added hunting zones in the Watermelon Pond Tract of Goethe. For more information, download the Watermelon Pond Wildlife and Environmental Area [Adobe PDF Document] publication.

In keeping with its mission to protect and manage Florida's forest resources, the Florida Forest Service has developed rules that apply to all state forest visitors. Find out more about state forest fees and rules.

Trails Campsites Other
Hike Bike Horse Canoe Camp sites with Electric Leashed Pets OK More Activities
Check Mark Check Mark Check Mark none Check Mark Primitive none Check Mark Picnicking, Hunting
Trailwalker Patch - center of the patch
Great Florida Birding Trail
Goethe State Forest is part of the Trailwalker Hiking Program. Trailtrotter Program 
Explore the forest on horseback.
Goethe State Forest is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail
Goethe's Birding Checklist [Adobe PDF Document 773.79 KB]

Contact Us

Florida Forest Service
Goethe State Forest
9110 Southeast County Road 337
Dunnellon, Florida 34431

(352) 465-8585
(352) 465-8515 Fax

Email Goethe State Forest