OverviewA highpointer will go anywhere these days...even Florida! No, Space Mountain is not the highest mountain in Florida, although it is the most expensive!
Out West, on the Florida panhandle, is Britton Hill - the real Florida highpoint. It is also the lowest elevated state highpoint in the United States. In fact, whereever you are sitting right now, is probably at a higher elevation than Britton Hill. The question is why bother visiting the area? First off, it is a state highpoint, but second, it is part of a unique area of the nation. Situated less than 50 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, small, hilly roads lead up to Britton Hill, just below the Alabama state line. Britton Hill is part of a small forest, about 50 feet above farm land, that looks more like something you would find in Michigan than you would find in Florida. Although it is in Florida, it is in Central time zone, because it is so far west in the panhandle. If you drove straight north up the country, you would be in Indiana. Britton Hill is named for the retired postmistress of Lakewood and is located in a county park. It is located in Paxton, Florida.
Getting ThereTo get to Britton Hill is not complicated. Take I-10 on the Florida panhandle from either direction, and exit at rt. 331, just south of De Funiak Springs. Take 331 North for about 20 miles until you see a sign on the right pointing to the Florida highpoint. From the sign, it is about 3 miles to the parking lot. The park is off N County Highway 285. The summit is 2/3rds of a mile before the Alabama State line. So if you enter Alabama, you've gone too far.
Before you reach the park, you go up a steep hill, at the top of which, on the left side of the road (if coming from the Florida side), is a sign indicating the highpoint parking area. Park at the trailhead, and walk several yards to a large stone marker that indicates the highpoint. There is a nature trail beyond the highpoint that offers some hiking.
If wanting to enjoy some more nature during your trip, continue on the same road into Alabama and take a left heading west on Route 54 into Florala. Lake Jackson is less than 3 miles from Britton Hill and is a nice sized lake that is located in both Alabama and Florida.
When To ClimbYou can climb all year, but watch late summer and fall when hurricane season is in play. I-10 can be subject to road closures during this time, and afternoon thundershowers are common throughout the year, so check weather reports.
I would suggest coming here in Winter. Not only can you go to the beach and not freeze to death, you can also venture into the woods without the trails being too overgrown.
HighpointingSome may ask why anyone would want to travel to this remote area and walk in the relatively flat Florida panhandle forest. Britton Hill certainly does not provide the best Florida has to offer, but highpointing takes you places you would never think of going - like a unique tour of America that few get to experience. Britton Hill is one of the few flatland highpoints, but it is accessible from I-10, a highway that goes from Jacksonville, Florida to Los Angeles, California, and is used by many to drive cross-country. For more information on highpointing, check out the Highpointers Club.
Red TapeNo permits required
My highpoint site on Florida
Weather for Paxton, Florida
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