This large, nearly level area consists primarily of a poorly drained to very poorly drained freshwater swamp of cypress and gum. The surface is a thick, spongy mat of organic material, sluggishly cut by a few shallow sloughs. Longleaf and slash pine flatwoods with a dense understory of saw palmetto, gallberry, and bay form the perimeter of the swamp. Loggers made off with most of the original timber between 1915 and 1920, and earthen railroad trams, some of which are still visible, penetrated the interior. Over time, all signs of human intrusion into the swamp have greatly subsided. A designated hiking trail makes a loop through the drier pine flatwoods of the perimeter on the west-northwestern side. Boggy terrain, dense vegetation, insects, and warm, humid conditions make travel here extremely challenging--exacerbated by the fact that the trails are not maintained (your best bet is to follow one of the many old logging roads). Deer hunters are the most common visitors. On the northwest side, an old road tunnels through a stand of massive live oaks that tower overhead.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Big Gum Swamp Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.