“A balloon loop through the old palm hammocks and cabbage palms of the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (MINWR).”
— Ryan Spr
Features: Birding — Views — Wildlife
Conditions can be muddy during the lengthy Florida rainy season.
Trail also crosses a railroad track.
The trail begins under a canopy of oaks by the informational kiosk. Crossing a short footbridge into a red maple swamp—very colorful in winter—the trail then climbs slightly into an oak hammock. From there, you cross another short footbridge and arrive at the tracks of the former NASA Railroad. Crossing the railroad tracks, you move deeper into the forest, where a canopy of dense oaks crowns the lanky saw palmettos. As you continue, the trail opens up and runs along a passage surrounded by saw palmettos and live oaks.
About a half-mile into the trail, a boardwalk begins and winds through the marsh filled with red maple and Virginia willow before ending in a palm hammock. The trail then swings right and loops through the palm hammock before returning to the boardwalk, where you backtrack back to the trailhead.
Flora & Fauna
Cabbage palm, saw palmetto, live oak, wax myrtle, gallberry. Yellow-rumped Warbler (seasonal), Pileated woodpecker, raptors, wading birds. Armadillo, Feral hog, gray squirrel, bobcat, raccoon, and other woodland wildlife.