Blackwater River State Forest has a number of hiking trails scattered amongst its almost 3 million acres of longleaf pine and wiregrass habitat, but perhaps the most scenic of the trails is the Sweetwater Trail located at Krul Lake off of Hwy 4 near Munson. Krul Lake is a man-made 6.5 acre spring-fed lake that is a popular swimming spot during the hot summer months. It hosts picnic areas, grills, bathhouse and a campground.
Visitors will pay a modest day use fee, $2 at time of this posting, to enter the park. The trailhead is located in the parking lot and the first 2,900 feet of wooden boardwalk is ADA accessible. This section contains a working replica grist mill and wonderful suspension bridge that crosses Sweetwater Creek. There are several benches along the boardwalk inviting visitors to sit back and just enjoy the beauty of the area. Sweetwater Trail pdf.
At just over the half mile mark the boardwalk gives way to a footpath that enters the longleaf pine forest. Interspersed among the pine trees are wiregrass meadows, ferns and a wide variety of wildflowers. Spring and fall are perfect times to catch color and see migrating butterflies. At all of the trailheads in Blackwater River State Forest hikers will see signs cautioning them about Florida black bears and what to do if one is encountered. Other animals that may be encountered in the area include feral pig, gopher tortoises, wild turkey, deer and more.
Follow Sweetwater Trail a comfortable distance of 1.3 miles and arrive at Bear Lake, another recreation area within Blackwater State Forest. Unlike Krul Lake, alligators are present in this lake so swimming is not allowed, however fishing and kayaking are. Hikers can choose to head back to Krul Lake or continue on to the 4 mile Bear Lake Loop Trail for a longer hike. Other nearby trails include a 6 mile mountain bike trail and a 2 mile Bear Lake to Jackson Red Ground connector trail.
Krul Lake is located about 21 miles west of Crestview, FL. From Crestview take Hwy 90 to SR 189/Hwy4 North. Turn left at Baker and continue west 12 miles until you see the Krul Lake signs on the right. From Pensacola take I-10 or Hwy 90 to Milton and take Hwy 191/Munson Hwy to Hwy 4. Turn right and travel approximately 1/2 mile to Krul Lake Road on the left.