Torreya State Park is a destination I’ve been trying to visit since I first heard that was like visiting the Appalachian Mts. On our last visit up to Chipley, Florida to visit with Rob’s parents we decided to take a stop by and see if all the rumors about this place for true. I was amazed driving into the park from the highway and how beautiful the roads were! The hills and turns remind me of the roads back home and Pennsylvania. After our paying our fee to get into the park at the courtesy station we drove up to The Gregory House.
Built in 1849 by Jason Gregory as a home for his family. Jason Gregory home was previously located on his plantation at Ocheesee Landing across from it’s current location down river bit. After the Civil War and the death of Jason Gregory’s entire family (due to Yellow Fever or complications due to childbirth) except for his oldest daughter that house sat empty been flooded multiple times by the river home was in disarray. In 1935 they numbered each and every board of the house and moved it piece by piece to the park across a river where it stands today. Many of the antiques that you’ll see in the home are from time in which the home was occupied. Gregory’s oldest daughter was the last to reside in the home and her bedroom set is complete and in the upstairs bedroom. I highly suggest if you visit Torreya State Park that you take the time and spend the $3.00 to take the tour of this beautiful home. There’s so much history here that I cannot share with you in a short paragraph.
Rob and I took time to take Bo on a hike along the Apalachicola River Bluffs Trail this is a National Recreation Trail of follows alongside the river here you’ll be able to view the confederate gun pits, bluffs and hardwood forest. I will take you between 30 and 45 minutes to hike this trail. In the first thing you’ll notice if you’re from Central Florida is there a quite a few elevation changes. You will have to watch your step as these are rough trails going through the forest with loose leaf clutter on the ground below your feet. The first time you stub your toe on a tree root your member to pick your feet up. The views on this trail or just a remarkable!
If you look closely you’ll see the Torreya tree plantings off the trail were they have been planted to try and restore them in the area naturally. With bluffs a rising more than 150 feet above the river and deep ravines that had been eroded by streams and rain through the centuries you’ll think you are somewhere other than Florida.
The park is named for the rare Torreya Tree that occurs only in the bluffs along Apalachicola River. Once plentiful was nearly destroyed by disease in early 1960s and still may face extinction. Other rare plants you’ll find in the park are the Florida Yew Tree and U.S. champion Winged Elm animals commonly found in the park include deer fox and the unusual Barbours map turtle.
There are large numbers of hiking trails here; one that attracts the most attention is the Torreya Challenge. This 7 mile trail with primitive camping available halfway through is definitely a challenge.
When visiting the park take a moment to drive through the campground. At the far end of the campground there is a platform overlooking miles of wilderness. From here you can really take in the beauty of this area.
If you’re looking for some place different to visit Florida, that is out of the ordinary by far, than Torreya State Park should be on top of your list.
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