“A sandy singletrack trail weaving through scrub forests and sometimes following sandy roads.”
— Steve Creech
Birding · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Check the Walk-in-the-Water WMA website
for hunting dates (on and off between September and April).
Use the parking area on state Route 630 just west of Walk-in-the-Water Road; there is an information kiosk labeled Scrub Jay Trail. From here, head north through the gate in the fence. There are often game and social trails, but this trail is very well-marked with orange blazes. When in doubt, look for the blazes and they will be there. Though there are multiple trails visible, take a right 100 feet north of the gate right before the small Scrub Jay trail sign. The trail weaves on singletrack and forks at another sign 0.1 miles in (Scrub Jay East/West).
Taking a right onto the east part of the loop trail you'll soon cross an open corridor with power lines overhead and continue onto singletrack. After 0.5 miles the trail merges with a sandy roadbed. Take this due north, crossing over an east/west road at 0.75 miles. At 1.1 miles, the trail stops its due north track and turns SW, resuming singletrack travel and traveling with a marshy area on the left. At 1.25 miles, you'll cross over a road, continue along the orange-blazed singletrack. At 1.45 miles, you'll turn right onto the previously mentioned sandy road.
In a few hundred feet the trail veers off to the right back onto singletrack. This is an easy place to miss the trail veering off to the right (even if you missed this, staying on the road will take you all the way back to the trailhead, it'll just be sandy road running). The singletrack trail continues to weave through scrub forest and open shrubs, crossing roads at 1.6 miles and 1.9 miles and going under the powerlines again at 2.4 miles. The trail soon reaches its signed Scrub Jay East/West junction. Take a right to return to the trailhead 0.1 miles away.
Flora & Fauna
The Florida Scrub Jay (FSJ) is Florida's only endemic bird, meaning FSJs are found nowhere else in the world other than FL. Of the 950+ birds found in the continental United States, only 15 are endemic to the continental United States. FSJs are a very sought-after bird by birders and contribute to birding tourism. Unfortunately, FSJs are threatened and on the verge of becoming an endangered species. There are less than 8000 FSJs with less than 10 populations and the total number has dropped 10% in the last decade or so. Their existence is threatened by the continuing loss of habitat through Florida's development and wildfire suppression. Supporting preservation of public lands in FL can help the preservation of the Florida Scrub Jay species.