Looking to hike? Check these Trails out in Palm Beach Gardens
Palm Beach Gardens, just north of West Palm Beach is home to some of the best outdoor activities in Florida. The city lies on the southeastern side of Florida, which means it boasts diverse trails that have distinct natural conditions: wetlands, beach seawater, tropical forests and lush gardens. Many hiking trails are home to diverse animal life and work to protect their habitats, while letting visitors enjoy the natural setting. Animal populations living in this area include various specifics of birds, fish, deer, tortoise and even manatee. Here are the best hiking trails and where to find them for each outdoor enthusiast.
Grassy Water Everglades Preserve
Grassy Water Everglades Preserve is a 23-square mile long wetland ecosystem that not only provides freshwater to the city of West Palm Beach, and towns of South Palm Beach and Palm Beach Island, but is a key part of the Greater Everglades Watershed. The grassy wetlands is home to diverse tree islands, forests and wetland ecosystems. The wildlife found in the area include snail kits, white ibis, blue heron, white-tailed deer, bobcats and alligator.
The rectangle-shaped preserve offers 12 trails that border the edges of the park. Each trail offers unique activities such as biking, canoeing, kayaking, hiking and even hiking tours. Google Maps presents accurate information on different trail hours as well as length of each trail, if they are wheelchair accessible, and offer amenities, restrooms or shelters. Experienced naturalists provide trail and guided canoe tours as well as hiking programs to the public for scouts and local schools.
This park covers 158 acres of pine flatwoods, swamp land, mesic and wet flatwoods, a hydric hammock and tidal swamp area right in Palm Beach Gardens. Frenchman’s Forest used to make up the headwaters of Lake Worth Creek, that flowed north to the Laxahatachee River. Today, over 500 animal and 200 plant species live in the park’s delicate ecosystem. Specific animals you can find while visiting the park include red-bellied woodpecker, the gopher tortoise, and even manatees.
There are 4 trails in this park, one paved and four covered in sand, as well as part of the Great Florida Bird and Wildlife Trail and the Northeast Everglades Natural Area. The forest also provides a boardwalk that travels through a cypress swamp and an observation deck. The park has a comprehensive trail guide available for download on their site, with a photo album identifier of common species found in the park, an informative key on natural habitats and plants, such as the gopher tortoise burrows and wild coffee plants, and a list of activities prohibited in the park.
Bluegill trail is a 9-mile multiuse trail that’s part of the Everglades Natural Area. The trail offers biking, hiking, animal observation and canoeing along the east side of C-18 Canal. The trail gives visitors access to four conservation lands and visitor facilities: Loxahatchee Slough Natural Area, Grassy Waters Preserve, Karen T. Marcus Sandhill Crane Access Park and Riverbend Park. The park’s website offers a helpful trail map that notes the trail landmarks, as well as information on sections of the park recently paved and offering amenities.