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Big Bend Scenic Byway

Explore Undiscovered North Florida

Scenic Drive: Tate's Hell State Forest

Driving Directions: Back on the Byway, continue south on Sopchoppy Highway (US 319) for 6.4 miles to the intersection of Coastal Highway (US 98). Turn right and continue west on US 98 for 9.1 miles. At the Forest Service Fire Tower on the right (north) side of the road, turn left onto CR 30-A. Continue on 30-A, then right on Marine Street back to the intersection with US 98 (1.4 miles). Continue west on US 98 for 10.2 miles, passing the entrance to Tate’s Hell State Forest, to a sign for Tate’s Hell High Bluff Tract-Ralph G. Kendrick Dwarf Cypress Dome. Follow signs for 6 miles to the Cypress Dome. The route through Tate’s Hell State Forest is graded and will accommodate two-wheel drive vehicles.

Note: This route is not recommended for large motor homes and should not be driven in heavy rain.

Distance and driving time between this and previous stop: 34 miles / 50 minutes.

Tate's Hell State Forest

Description: Local legend has it that a farmer by the name of Cebe Tate, armed with only a shotgun and accompanied by his hunting dogs, journeyed into the swamp in search of a panther that was killing his livestock. Although there are several versions of this story, the most common describes Tate as being lost in the swamp for seven days and nights, bitten by a snake, and drinking from the murky waters to curb his thirst. Finally he came to a clearing near Carrabelle, living only long enough to murmur the words, "My name is Cebe Tate, and I just came from Hell!" Cebe Tate's adventure took place in 1875 and ever since, the area has been known as Tate's Hell, the legendary and forbidden swamp.

This drive takes visitors into the heart of “Tate's Hell” through a network of unpaved, but well graded forest roads, passing unique and varied natural community types from sandhill ridges to basin swamp. A most memorable journey full of rare plant species and wildlife.

Other Nearby Destinations: Cow Creek, Breakaway Lodge, and White Squirrels; Old McIntyre Ferry; Country Club and St. James Bay Golf Course.

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