“A great multi-distance trail through native hardwood hammock—hard to find in the Keys.”
— Lad Akins
Birding · Wildlife
The park asks for a $2.50 donation, paid by envelope in a deposit box at the start of the trail.
This was the old Port Bouganville development that went banrupt back in the 1980s and was taken over by the Florida Park System. They've done a lot of work restoring it to its native state while still including some amenities (paved first half mile, composting toilet). It can be buggy and humid, especially in the summer. There are lots of options in the trails to modify the distance. The trails are flat, with a bit of rock and overgrowth in some areas, and lots of native trees. Good parking at the trailhead.
Need to Know
$2.50 donation requested by the park. Best not to go off-trail.
Most of the trail is either paved (early portion) or nicely packed dirt, but there are a few sections where you'll want to be cautious. The section about 0.5 miles in where the pavement ends, the last 50m of mile 1, and a short bit around mile 4.4 just before you get back to the pavement can all have some small rocks to beware of. The "back forty" around mile 3.1-3.2 can be overgrown at times.
Start from the parking lot on Card Sound Road (State Road 905). The first half mile or so is paved. There are a few signs highlighting the way, but basically stay right for the first mile and turn around at the small rock mound. The last 50m of the first mile can flood a few inches during extreme tides.
Mile two takes you back along the old marina section where you'll still see some of the unfilled waterway. Turn back around when you can see the ocean (about mile 1.8). Head back as if you were going to return to the entrance, but you'll see a small crossover path to your right at mile 2.6. Turn right off that, and you'll be paralleling Card Sound road on a nice soft section.
At about mile 3.0, the trail branches right and gets into a little more growth. On the last few runs there have been a few fallen trees to hop over. At about 3.4 miles, the trail opens to a mangrove area that is usually flooded so it is time to turn back around and head to the barn. Just stay to the right all the way back.
From 4.5 miles on, it is paved again, and to get a true 5-mile run, you have to finish then add another little loop to the roundabout and back.
Flora & Fauna
Lots of native hardwood trees, many of them marked with signage. Beware of poisonwood if you get off the trail for any reason. The dark splotches on the trunk and leaves is a good ID key. Some birds (and birders) usually on the trail. Once in a while, a snake sunning, but I've only seen harmless corn or indigo snakes.
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Dogs Allowed, History & Background
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