“A scenic 2-mile loop within the 150-acre sanctuary through a variety of protected barrier island habitats.”
— Ryan Spr
October - April: 7:00 am - 6:00 pm
May - September: 7:00 am - 8:00 pm
This well-marked mostly unpaved and shaded hiking trail within the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge features two bridges, a boardwalk over wetland areas, and an observation deck over a marsh pond.
Features: Birding — River/Creek — Views — Wildlife
Dogs: No Dogs
Need to Know
Bicycles and dogs are not permitted along this trail. No restrooms on site.
The trail is well marked, but is not well maintained. There are plenty of palm fronds and downed dead branches alongside the trail (likely due to Hurricane Matthew) but not many palm fronds on the trail itself. A few sections were a bit muddy, but these portions have bridges to keep you off the mud.
The trailhead is at the north end of the sanctuary by the grassy/sandy parking area. The trail is very well marked, easy to follow, and offers a relatively even surface. Scattered throughout are simple wooden benches and informative “You are here" signs. As the loop reaches the edge of the sanctuary, a marker directs you to the left, and you emerge at the south trailhead. Turn left and walk up the paved bicycle trail along A1A past the inholding—Mark’s Landing. There, you'll reach the trailhead and the end of the loop.
Flora & Fauna
Roseate spoonbill, osprey, screech owl, wading birds, migratory birds, bobcat, raccoon, otter, gopher tortoise, alligator, giant land crab, and dolphin in the Indian River Lagoon.
White stopper, Wild pine, Wild coffee, Orchid, Resurrection fern, Sword fern, Cabbage palm, Live oak, Marlberry, Pennyroyal.
Habitats: Coastal strand, maritime hammock, hydric hammock, and mangrove forest.
History & Background
A portion of this sanctuary was once the site of an exotic plant nursery. Many of the nonnative plants that were grown at the nursery, such as Madagascar periwinkle and asparagus fern have escaped into the hammock. An intensive nonnative invasive plant removal project is underway.