The Aucilla Wildlife Management Area covers 50,471 acres in the area between and
around the Aucilla and Wacissa rivers. The Aucilla River originates from
artesian springs in southern georgia and becomes a blackwater stream as it
twists its way through Florida to the Gulf of Mexico. Portions of the river flow
underground through the limestone karst topography in northern Florida. The
Wacissa River is formed from the runoff of 12 different springs, and it eventually
becomes a tributary of the Aucilla about 6 miles before they flow into the Gulf.
Hunting is allowed in various parts of the Aucilla Wildlife Management Area
during a number of seasons of the year. If you plan to hike or kayak in the
area, be sure to check the most recent hunting season information. If you will
be visiting the area during hunting season, be sure to wear a safety orange
vehicles (including motorcycles) must stay on the marked roads. ATV's are not
permitted in the area.
The Florida National Scenic Trail ("Florida Trail" for short) winds
for about 20 miles through the
southern portion of the area downstream from where the Aucilla and Wacissa
Rivers merge, then follows the Aucilla River to the north. Along the path
of the Florida Trail, you pass the "Aucilla Sinks" area where the river
alternately flows underground, then on the surface, only to disappear
underground again a number of times.
In addition to the Florida Trail, there are a number of other hiking
possiblities in the Aucilla Wildlife Management Area, Bicycling is also possible
along the forest roads and tram trails. Horseback riding is permitted along the
forest roads, but there are currently no facilities for parking trailers or for
equestrian camping. Tent camping is allowed at three sites along the Florida
Trail, as well as at the Goose Pasture Recreation Area within the Aucilla
Wildlife Managment Area.
There are quite a few ways to access the Aucilla Wildlife Management Area.
However, many of the access points are forest roads that are gated so that only
pedestrians or bicyclists may pass. If one has to pick a primary entry point, it
would be the intersection of US highway 98 and Western Slough Road in the
southern portion of the area. On the northern side, there is ungated vehicular
access where Grade 25 Road meets highway 59. On the east side, the best access
to the Aucillla Sinks area is via Goose Pasture Road, which runs west from
The Wacissa River, with its clear spring-fed waters, is a state-designated canoe
trail, and is a popular paddle destination. One of the best kayak/canoe
trips covers 14 miles beginning at the head springs one mile south of the town
of Wacissa, and continuing downstream to Nuttall Rise, where the Wacissa joins
with the Aucilla River. Along the way you will pass along the "slave canal" - a
historical man-made connector between the Wacissa and Aucilla Rivers, downstream
from the Aucilla Sinks. Dug by slaves in the 1800's, it allowed the transport of
cotton by barge down the Wacissa River to the Gulf of Mexico.
The Aucilla River is also a state-designated canoe trail. The trail begins a
mile south of Lamont on highway 19, and continues 19 miles to a point where the
river disappears underground. The river then flows through a series of deep
sinks until it finally appears on the surface again for the last time at Nuttall