[Tate’s Hell, as it is famously called, is located only a few minutes from the Williamson Outfitters lodge]
Tate’s Hell got its name from a creepy story. Armed with a shotgun, in 1875, Cebe Tate and his hunting dogs ventured into the cypress swamp in search of a panther that was killing livestock. Legend has it that his family had sworn not to venture into the cypress swamp, based on a pact Tate’s father made with a local medicine man for good fortune. Tate’s dogs tracked the panther and took off into the woods, leaving Tate all alone. Having lost his gun in the commotion, Tate wandered off alone and unarmed. He stumbled aimlessly for seven days and nights. Reappearing seven days later, snake bit and with his hair turned completely white, Tate muttered these last words before dying, “My name is Cebe Tate, and I just came from hell.”
Tate’s Hell is a Florida Forest Service recreation area, and it’s worth a trip to see the forest of dwarf cypress trees, Tate’s Hell Swamp, and the multitude of wildlife who call that area home. As you traverse well-marked trails and boardwalks, think of Tate wandering through this dangerously primitive area, unarmed and alone.