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What to do in Palm Beach County? Hiking: Florida's Hidden Gem

banks of river with canoe - floridaOur idyllic corner of sunny South Florida is most famously regarded for its sprawling beaches. Less well known, though no less stunning, are the multitude of trails and paths available for your hiking pleasure. Florida features over 5,000 miles of trails with scenic views ranging from marshland to shoreline. The lengths and difficulties vary, making hiking a sport accessible for people of all ages and levels of experience. Hiking not only boosts cardiovascular and respiratory health, it allows you to “get your steps in” while taking in the beautiful scenery of the place in which we live. So, whether you are looking to stroll along picturesque paths, improve your fitness with a trail run, or are simply looking to connect with Florida’s beautiful ecosystem, this list is your guide to a few favorite spots right in our backyard.

Satin Leaf Trail -

This relatively easy trail is located on Singer Island in the beautiful Macarthur park. It features a thick tropical hammock and displays the range of habitats protected within the park. The trail follows a ¼ mile loop and restrooms are available at the nature center at the start of the hike. Fans of flora will be enchanted by the marsh ferns, palmettos, and gumbo limbo lining the path.  

            Length: 0.25 mile

            Fees: small state park entrance fee

            Location: Singer Island

Wetlands Hammock Trail -

Featuring a short ½ mile loop surrounding a large pond, the Wetlands Hammock Trail is a perfect spot for all hikers. The walk takes place along an extensive boardwalk and displays the vast range of wildlife that resides in Florida wetlands. Hikers can expect to see colorful birds and frogs sunning and swimming across the pond. Nature-lovers of all ages can take advantage of the family-friendly Pine Jog Environmental Education Center near the trail which features such events as “Pine Jog at Night” and day camps for children. Restrooms are available at the environmental center.

            Length: 0.5 mile

            Fees: none

            Location: West Palm Beach

Grassy Waters Preserve -

This expansive preserve features two unique trails each with their own features. The two trails share a parking lot and each have a restroom at the trail head.

            Eagle Trail –

This short ½ mile loop surrounds Gator lake. It features a charming pier and stunning water views. The abundance and variety of birds along this trail make it a perfect spot for birding.

            Length: 0.5 mile

            Fee: none

            Location: West Palm Beach

Hog Hammock Trail –

An extension of the Promontory Trail, the Hog Hammock Trail features a breathtaking palm hammock. The path follows a 1.9 mile loop. Hikers have the option to extend the hike to an overall 2.2 mile walk. Featuring diverse flora and fauna, the trail is ideal for bird-watching and wildlife photography.

Length: 1.9 or 2.2 miles

            Fee: none

            Location: West Palm Beach

Frenchman’s Forest Natural Area -

This sanctuary, featuring an astounding seven different habitats and four different hiking trails, is nestled behind none other than the Gardens Mall. Each of the four paths highlight sweeping views of the mangrove marsh and scrubby flatwoods. They combine to form a 172-acre natural area that hikers can enjoy daily from sunrise to sunset. Hikers should note that this site has no restroom.

                        Length: 2.9 miles

                        Fee: none

                        Location: Palm Beach Gardens

            Apoxee Park and Wilderness Trail –

This section of the Owahee Trail takes hikers over and through the water supply of West Palm Beach. It was the first urban wilderness park set aside by the City of West Palm Beach for the enjoyment of the public and the preservation of natural areas. It features stunning boardwalk water views and plentiful wildlife. This hike is a bit more advanced at 4.7 miles. Hikers should note that after heavy rains, sections of the path can become flooded. Portable restrooms are available along the trail.

            Length: 4.7 miles

            Fee: none

            Location: West Palm Beach

Palm Beach Lake Trail –

Nicknamed the “Trail of Conspicuous Consumption,” the Palm Beach Lake Trail presents striking views of Lake Worth Lagoon to one side and rows of lavish mansions on the other. This hike is a bit longer at 9 miles round-trip, however the stunning views make the walk all the more worthwhile. Hikers should note that there is no restroom available along this trail.

            Length: 9 miles

            Fee: none

            Location: Palm Beach

Johnathan Dickinson State Park: East Loop Trail –

With sweeping views of scrubby flatwoods, serene ponds, and the remains of the World War II era “Camp Murphy,” Johnathan Dickinson’s East Loop Trail is sure to bring delight to those who walk along its path. The hike takes the form of a 9.8 mile loop which can be completed in a day hike. Alternatively, campsites are available with prior reservations. Restrooms are available within Johnathan Dickinson Park, but not along the trail.

Length: 9.8 miles

            Fees: small state park entrance fee

            Location: Hobe Sound

Florida Trail – Lucky Tract to Kitching Creek –

Featuring a striking juxtaposition of the Loxahatchee Slough and Riverbend Park, this section of the Ocean-to-Lake Florida Trail is a more challenging 10.5 miles. There is no shortage of wildlife. Hikers can catch glimpses of warblers, waterfowl, read-headed ducks, and more. Over 191 bird species have been observed within Riverbend Park alone. Parking is available at Riverbend or C-18 in Jupiter Farms. There is a restroom available at Riverbend Park.

            Length: 10.5 miles

            Fee: none

            Location: Jupiter

As always, Tauber Real Estate Services, LLC Is your resource for living and loving the Palm Beach lifestyle! More information about these hiking spots and more can be found at Happy Hiking!

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