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ROAD TRIP – Pine Log State Forest

By Sharon Michalik, Photography by Florida Forest Service

30 Minute Drive from Downtown Panama City

Like nature’s own mysterious kaleidoscope, hidden deep in the woods of Pine Log State Forest, the sun and the trees create indelible images that will remain with you long after you’ve caught your breath, wiped the sand off your bike and have reluctantly returned to reality. Home to campers and hikers for many years (according to its website, Pine Log was Florida’s first state forest when purchased in 1936). The forest boasts some of this area’s only single-track mountain bike trails on both the east and west side of Highway 79. With an approximately six-mile loop on the west side and another trail that’s closer to nine miles (and slightly more technical in spots) on the east side of 79, Pine Log has plenty to offer both the inexperienced and experienced recreational cyclist with rejuvenating views of tall trees and woods that appear untouched.

Pine Log State Forest is located a 30-minute drive north of Panama City Beach. On Highway 79, like anywhere in Florida in the summer, it can be buggy, so bring plenty of bug spray. The campground has a public restroom area so there is opportunity to take a break between loops of the track and to refill water bottles and/or dust off if you take a spill.

The entrance fee is $2 per person and there’s an “honor box” at the entryway to the parking lot.

There is a lot more to know about Pine Log State Forest. For more information visit: http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Florida-Forest-Service/Our-Forests/State-Forests/Pine-Log-State-Forest

Sharon Michalik

Sharon Michalik is the Executive Director of Human Resources for Bay District Schools. She was founding Executive Director of Bay County Teen Court Inc. Her parents moved to Bay County from England when she was a teenager which fostered unique viewpoints. She obtained bachelor's and master's degrees from Florida State University. Traveling and discovering new epicurean delights is one of her favorite activities. She, her husband John, and their four children enjoy everything that the west end of Panama City Beach has to offer.

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