The Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail is contiguous with the Camp Milton Historic Preserve, which serves as a mid-point trailhead.
Built to connect Jacksonville to Tallahassee, the Florida, Atlantic & Gulf Central Railroad drew a great deal of attention during the Civil War because of its value as a transportation corridor.
Early during the war, an encampment named for Governor John Milton, Camp Milton, occupied a strategic spot along the rail line near Baldwin, where railroads met and still do today.
In August 1990, the City of Jacksonville applied to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for the acquisition of an abandoned railroad corridor. In December 1992, the abandoned railroad corridor was purchased from CSX Transportation Inc. through the Florida Greenways and Trails Program. This trail is part of a nationwide, federally initiated “Rails to Trails” program designed to turn abandoned railroad lines into “linear parks.” The Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail is a 100-foot wide Right-of-Way (ROW) currently extending approximately 14.5 miles from Imeson Road in Jacksonville to the Town of Baldwin. A 12’ wide paved trail currently exists for hikers, bikers, and rollerbladers to enjoy. An equestrian trail parallels the paved trail. The ROW is flat and passes through rural areas with abundant plant life, wildlife, and trees.
Restrooms are available at most trailheads and at Camp Milton
The trail is open from sunrise to sunset. Leashed pets are welcome. Do not ride more than two abreast.
The surface is asphalt. Sheltered benches are provided as rest stops at regular intervals.
Though still in development, this paved, multi-use recreational trail is situated in one of the most picturesque areas of the state.
This state trail is warmly welcomed by this northeast Florida region for the enhanced quality of life and economic benefits it offers many small towns and communities. The trail corridor stretches nearly 47 miles from west of U.S. 17 in Palatka to State Road 238 in Lake Butler, as it runs along the former Norfolk-Southern Railroad right-of-way through Putnam, Clay, Bradford, and Union counties.
Purchased with Preservation 2000 funds through the Florida Greenways and Trails Acquisition Program, the Rails to Trails Conservancy played a key role in preserving the corridor for conversion to a rail trail. It was designated as part of the Florida Greenways and Trails System in 2007 and is being constructed by the Florida Department of Transportation in segments as funding becomes available.
GPS coordinates for Twin Lakes Park: N29.7643 / -81.9927
GPS coordinates for Lake Butler trailhead: N30.0222 / -82.3424
A superb resource for cyclists, the scenic Palatka to St. Augustine State Trail connects St. Augustine to Palatka, traveling through the communities of Elkton, Armstrong, Hastings, Armstrong, and East Palatka. Originally a Rails-to-Trails project, the 19-mile paved, asphalt trail runs parallel to State Road 207 and includes views of mixed woodlands rural landscapes. Several small communities along the trail, such as Hastings and Palatka, offer amenities and a number of great local restaurants that will add to your day out on the trail. With a little planning, those looking for an extended experience can connect with the Palatka to Lake Butler State Trail, a corridor that stretches an additional 47 miles from west of US17 in Palatka to SR238 in Lake Butler.
Make sure to swing through Downtown Palatka on your way to FL 100, just west of the Palatka Airport, to experience a unique Florida Trail Town experience. The Palatka to St. Augustine State Trail is also a part of the St. Johns River to Sea Loop. This 260-mile multi-use trail is the longest loop trail underway through the American Southeast. The character of the loop ranges from resort towns to rural hamlets, from coastal dunes to springs. The loop links a national seashore, Florida State Parks, national monuments, national wildlife refuges, springs, and museums.
A journey through Brevard, Volusia, Flagler, St. Johns, and Putnam can all begin on the Palatka to St. Augustine State Trail!
The Palatka-to-St. Augustine State Trail is a multi-use recreational trail along a corridor that stretches through St. Johns and Putnam counties.
This 12-foot-wide, 19 mile-long, paved trail runs through beautiful agricultural landscapes and scenic routes. You can begin your adventure from several access points.
Starting in St. Johns County and traveling into Putnam County tends to be the popular route due to the ample parking at the eastern trailheads and the opportunity to visit the designated Florida Trail Town of Palatka mid-trip.
Vermont Blvd. Trailhead (GPS Lat/Long: 29.81569, -81.40269, St. Johns County): This small trailhead, located off Vermont Boulevard, includes a kiosk with a trail map and roadside parking only. This is the farthest east that you can access the trail, as the last mile runs east and dead-ends at the railroad tracks. If you start at this trailhead and travel west the length of the trail, you will ride approximately 35 miles round-trip.
Vermont Heights Trailhead (GPS Lat/Long: 29.80313, -81.41137, St. Johns County): This trailhead is approximately one mile from the Vermont Boulevard Trailhead. Managed by St. Johns County Parks and Recreation, this location includes a kiosk with a trail map, parking, restroom, and picnic area. If you start at this trailhead and travel west the length of the trail, you will travel approximately 34 miles round-trip.
Armstrong Park (GPS Lat/Long: 29.76242, -81.44736, St. Johns County): This trailhead, managed by St. Johns County Parks and Recreation, includes restrooms, parking, a picnic area and a playground. A kiosk with a trail map is located just west of the trailhead. This trailhead is approximately five miles from the Vermont Boulevard Trailhead and approximately 12 miles from the end of the trail in Putnam County.
Cora C. Harrison Preserve (GPS Lat/Long: 29.71619, -81.51528, St. Johns County): This trailhead, managed by St. Johns County Parks and Recreation, includes a restroom, parking, and a picnic area. A kiosk with a trail map is located just west of the trailhead. This trailhead is approximately nine miles from the Vermont Boulevard Trailhead and approximately seven miles from the end of the trail in Putnam County.
East River Road Trailhead (GPS Lat/Long: 29.66153, -81.60081, Putnam County) This small trailhead located on East River Road includes three roadside parking spaces. A kiosk with a map is located just west of this parking area, marking the end of the Palatka to St. Augustine State Trail in Putnam County.
Please take caution at intersections, as it is the responsibility of trail users to stop (oncoming traffic does not have a stop sign). There are two sections of the trail that cross U.S. 207; please take caution and use the signals when crossing.