Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Etoniah Creek State Forest contains 8,879 acres of various natural communities. The forest was acquired as part of the Etoniah/Cross Florida Greenway Conservation and Recreation Lands (CARL) project. Etoniah Creek State Forest is named after Etoniah Creek, a stream that travels 2.5 miles through the eastern portion of the forest. The forest is managed by the Florida Forest Service under the multiple-use management concept so as to restore, protect and manage ecosystem functions while allowing compatible public uses.
Etoniah Creek State Forest is located in northern Putnam County in northeast Florida. The forest headquarters is located northeast of Florahome. From Florahome, go 2 miles east to Holloway Road. Go north on Holloway Road 2.6 miles to Fieldhouse Road. The office is 1/2 mile down Fieldhouse Road.
Located just to the south of the 819 acre Georges Lake, Etoniah Creek State Forest has 491 feet of lake frontage. Three shallow creeks (Falling Branch Creek, Etonia Creek, and Rice Creek) meander through floodplain swamps and bottomland hardwoods.
The forest is home to a variety of wildlife and is part of a wildlife corridor that offers the black bear a vast roaming area, a necessity for its survival. Other types of wildlife commonly found on the forest include white-tailed deer, bobcat, fox squirrel, wild turkey, eastern diamondback rattlesnake and barred owl.
Species found on the forest that are listed as endangered, threatened or of special concern include the eastern indigo snake, gopher tortoise, black creek crayfish, and Florida scrub jay. Etoniah rosemary (Conradina etonia) is an endangered plant that was first described in 1991 and is found mostly in scrub habitat. Etoniah Creek State Forest contains the only known population of Etoniah rosemary found on public land.
Recreational activities on the forest include hiking, fishing, hunting, nature study, wildlife viewing and photography. There is a designated trail for horseback riding, a 12 mile loop with two options to make a shorter ride.
Etoniah Creek State Forest contains 3 hiking trails. The George’s Lake Hiking Trail is a one mile round trip trail that takes visitors to an observation deck overlooking George’s Lake. Lake Blossom Trail is a short half-mile loop trail around a beautiful grassy pond. This area provides a great opportunity for birding and photography. The third trail is the Longleaf Pine Trail, which follows part of the Florida National Scenic Trail and leads hikers to a healthy population of Etoniah rosemary at the southern end of the trail.
The Palatka-to-Lake Butler State Trail, a Florida Rails-to-Trails project, crosses the south side of the forest. The project converted an old railroad bed into a paved multi-use trail.
Etoniah Creek State Forest is managed as a Wildlife Management Area by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Hunting is permitted only during designated seasons.
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.