Charles H. Bronson State Forest

Charles H. Bronson State Forest is one of Florida's newest state forest.  It was dedicated on October 20, 2010 to Charles H. Bronson, a fifth generation Floridian and long term veteran of public services including law enforcement, state senator and agricultural commissioner.  On March 25, 2011, the forest was opened to the general public. Recreational activities include hiking, camping, bird watching, horseback riding and seasonal hunting. 

Entrance Sign Entrance Kiosk Department of Forestry Sign
Entrance signs and information kiosk

Location

The state forest is comprised of approximately 10,945 acres located along the St. Johns River in southeastern Seminole County and northeastern Orange County.

Directions

To Joshua Creek Tract Trailhead:

From Interstate 95, take exit 79 and head west on State Road 50 for about 10.2 miles. Turn right at Fort Christmas Road and follow the road for about 4 miles. Then turn right again onto Phillips Road and follow it until it dead ends (about 1 mile). The entrance to Charles H. Bronson State Forest is at the end of Phillips Road. Follow dirt road until you reach the parking area. GPS coordinates: N28 35.513 W81 02.254.

To Curryville Road Entrance:

From the intersection of State Road 50 and County Road 419 (Chuluota Rd), head north on CR 419 for about 5 miles. Turn right onto Lake Mills Road and head east for about 1.8 miles. Turn right onto Curryville Road and follow the road until dead ends about 2.7 miles. Parking is available at the nearby Chuluota Wilderness Area. GPS coordinates:  N28 37.433 W81 03.573.

Hours

The area is open from dawn to dusk, 365 days of the year.

Entrance Fees

Self-pay at the entrance kiosk: $2 per person.

Hiking

A 7.7 mile section of the orange-blazed Florida National Scenic Trail has been routed through the Charles H. Bronson State Forest thanks to the hard work of volunteers from the Florida Trail Assoc and the Student Conservation Assoc. The section begins near the northeast boundary of Orlando Wetlands Park and Seminole Ranch, and ends at the southeast corner of the Chuluota Wilderness Area. A short (0.25 mile) blue-blazed trail provides access from the main parking lot.

A new 12 mile white-blazed hiking trail, known as the River Trail, was also added by the Florida Trail Assoc. The trail starts at the Orlando Wetlands northern boundary, crosses four state forest tracts (Joshua Creek, Turkey Creek, Clontz and Yarborough) before ending at the Econlockhatchee River. A 0.85 mile blue-blazed trail, known as the County Line Connector Trail, also provides access to the River Trail from the Florida National Scenic Trail near Chuluota Wilderness Area.  In the future, the River Trail will cross the Econlockhatchee River and merge with the trails in the Kilbee Tract of the Little Big Econ State Forest.

Trail Sign Buscombe Creek Crossing Fence Crossing
Florida Trail Sign Buscombe Creek Crossing Mitigation Fence Crossover

Buscombe Creek Sign Christmas Creek Celtic Tree of the Ancients
Buscombe Creek Sign Christmas Creek Giant Cypress Tree

Camping

There are three primitive campsites located in the Charles H. Bronson State Forest. Each is equipped with a fire ring and some cut logs to sit on. Two of the campsites, Fern and Joshua Creek, are located along the Florida National Scenic Trail at coordinates N28 35.224 W81 00.557 and  N28 35.982 W81 02.742. The other campsite, called the County Line, is located along the River Trail at coordinates N28 36.625 W81 01.450

Joshua Creek Campsite Joshua Creek Campsite
Joshua Creek Campsite

Fern Campsite Fern Campsite
Fern Camp

County Line Campsite County Line Campsite
County Line Campsite

Horseback Riding

The Charles H. Bronson State Forest has over 23 miles of marked horseback riding trails covering areas in Joshua Creek, Turkey Creek, Clontz and Yarborough Tracts. There's also a trail that goes to the Orlando Wetlands Park and another that takes you out to the Culpepper Bend day-use pavilion on the Econlockhatchee River. Ample horse trailer parking is available at the Joshua Creek Tract and Curryville Road trailheads. Water for horses can be an issue since there are no established water troughs on the trails. During prolong drought periods most of the creeks, including Christmas, Joshua, Buscombe and Turkey Creek, will completely dry up. Also you should be aware that this state forest does have active cattle leases. Please close gates behind you if you have to open any.

State Forest Rules: All horses must be accompanied by a current 1-year negative Coggins report. No person shall ride or lead a horse off of the designated horseback riding trails. All equestrian riders under the age of 16 must wear a certified helmet.

Hunting

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission manages hunting at Charles H. Bronson State Forest. For up-to-date information on regulations and current hunting schedules, please go to MyFWC.com.

Hunting Schedule 2013 - 2014
Archery Sep. 27 - Oct. 19
Muzzle Gun Oct. 25 - 27, Nov. 1 - 3
General Gun Nov. 8 - 10, 15 - 17, 29 - Dec. 1
Small Game Dec. 7 - 15, Jan. 4 - 10
Spring Turkey Mar. 8 - 9, 15 - 18, 21 - 24, 28 - 31

Maps

These are some of the maps for the Charles H. Bronson State Forest. You can enlarge them by clicking on the thumbnail image. Printer versions of these maps can also be downloaded and printed using Adobe Reader.

Two topographical maps showing the northern half and the southern half of the Charles H. Bronson State Forest. Map features include hiking trails, roads and points of interests.

Topo Map North Topo Map South
Print Map Print Map

Aerial photo maps showing hiking trails and roads within the Charles H. Bronson State Forest.

Aerial Map North Aerial Map South
Print Map
Print Map

A photograph of the large map located inside the kiosk at the Joshua Creek Trailhead.

Large Kiosk Map

Google Map of  Charles H. Bronson  State Forest showing hiking trails and photos.

KML Photo Viewer

Horse Trail  Map available at the information kiosk.

Horse Trail Map
Print Map

GPS Data

File Formats Downloads
TopoGraphix ExpertGPS trails.gpx
Garmin MapSource trails.mps, tails.gdb
Google Earth trails.kmz
National Geographic TOPO! trails.tpo

Wildlife

Baby Raccoon White Tail Deer
Baby Raccoon White Tail Deer

Flowers

Magnolia Carolina Jasmine Scarlet Milkweed
Southern Magnolia Carolina Jasmine Scarlet Milkweed
Horse Nettle Golden Club Butterweed
Carolina Horsenettle Golden Club Butterweed
Eastern Milkpea Lobelia Sensitive Briar
Eastern Milkpea Glade Lobelia Florida Sensitive Briar
Sky Blue Lupine Wild Petunia Golden Canna
Skyblue Lupine Carolina Wild Petunia Bandana of the Everglades

Local Weather

Trail Notes

Links

 

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Last updated on 18-Nov-2013.