If three to four miles of hiking is your sweet spot, here are three free trails each with a distinct atmosphere.
+Jacksonville Arboretum, 1445 Millcoe Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32225
If you want to learn how to identify Florida flora, this is a great place to study. There are 100 labeled plants in the park!
Over three miles of looping trails go through a number of diverse habitats. You’ll even find some nice hills. Beautiful sights are commonplace.
Little details are the sweetest. A budding bush.
A set of roots.
A rainbow gradient twig.
There are even sculptures scattered about. One trail I recommend not missing is the Rosemary Ridge Trail. Locate the small gated access point to the Rosemary Scrub made of soft sand.
The endemic rosemary plant is found inside, it is one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world.
+Tillie K Fowler Regional Park, 700 Roosevelt Blvd Jacksonville, FL 32244
This is a local park, popular with dog walkers, bikers, and nature lovers. To tell it true, the trails are a little confusing here – not always marked the best. However, I had a really wonderful time getting lost in the woods – which aren’t all that big. A history lesson is hidden inside.
Around three miles of paths are present, one which leads to an observation tower four stories high.
The view is great from way up high, it’s surprising how far away you can feel from the city.
But it was at ground level where I saw all the wildlife. An armadillo scrounged for some ants.
A pileated woodpecker cackling so loud the whole forest could hear, and I was able to spot it.
+Gourd Island, 10170-10310 Russell Sampson Rd, St Johns, FL 32259
If solitude is what you seek, you may not see anyone else on this four mile RT lollipop loop trail. The environment of the hike is mostly wetlands and pines.
However, there is interesting flora around for those with a keen eye.
A lone wild iris sprouted up tall.
A gathering of interesting bugs on a few blades of grass.
This area was saved from logging and is now a peaceful place. You may see gopher tortoise, deer, otter, birds and gators.