This recreation area in the east portion of the Apalachicola National Forest is different from the lower, longleaf savannah habitats of the tracts closer to the river. Here, higher sandhills of pine and turkey oak are broken by erosion in the underlying limestone, causing deep, dramatic crystal blue sinkholes which are rimmed with hardwoods. Upon entering the hiking trail, turn left at the T-junction for the shorter trail (1.7 miles) and return on the short-cut (0.5 mile) through a tupelo swamp. Listen for Barred Owls, Northern Parulas and Prothonotary Warblers near the wetlands, and watch for Blue-headed Vireos and Carolina Chickadees in the pinewoods. By turning right at the T-junction, you’ll choose the longer 2.5-mile loop past a series of large sinkholes. Watch for Wild Turkeys, Hermit Thrushes (winter) and White-eyed Vireos in the sandhills, as well as songbirds like Yellow-billed Cuckoos in hardwoods sloping into the sinks. In spring, wild azaleas along the Gum Swamp Trail attract many swallowtail butterflies. Little Wood-Satyr and Red-spotted Purple can occur in any wooded stretch. Near the sinkholes, look for Golden-banded Skippers. Bring water and sunscreen.