St Johns River Area Hiking

This entry is about some of the hiking I have done along the banks and open areas on the St Johns River from RT50 down as far as Lake Winder in Viera. I have been able to find ways into many areas along the river to do some hiking, looking and photographing. I have submitted a mess of pictures to Google Earth and also have assembled a few of my hikes in WIKILOC. I have provided links to these items at the bottom of this document. At times I have gone in with friends, at other times I have hiked the areas alone. I normally hike the areas in the winter, during the dry season. At some of the places I will mention you can only get to after a "burn", either manmade or by nature. The grass can get so thick that you cannot walk through it. If you attempt to access some of these areas in wet conditions, you will find it very uncomfortable - I have done it, but it really wasn’t that much fun. My main concern during the winter months is hunters, it seems that the SJRWMD has the most liberal hunting policies of any area around here. I always take extreme caution when hiking these areas, wearing a very bright orange baseball cap and bright clothes most of the time. It seems a lot of hunters come in from the river, so just be careful as you get closer to the river areas. I am not trying to put any fear in you; I just want everyone to be careful. Many areas have an array of cattle in them. Some people I hike with automatically show a fear for these beasts, I guess because they are pretty big. I have never been harassed by a cow, they are always a little more fearful of me than I am of them. With all that said, I must say, so far some of the prettiest and calming areas I’ve been to have been on the St Johns River. I love the views of the river and in many areas the cypress trees that dot the landscape. I have seen a vast array of wildlife, some domestic, while visiting the St Johns. Those included alligators, large variety of wading birds, sandpipers, songbirds, bald eagles, hawks, owls, vultures, deer, pigs and a few snakes. You will also come across some horses every so often and as I mentioned, quite a few cattle.

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St Johns River Below RT50

These are of some of my hikes into the river area just below RT50. This is what I found to be a very pretty area.


Details about the hikes below RT50
using numbers in above map
#1 - This hike started at parking area # 24 off Powerline Road in the Tosohatchee WMA. I headed north up to the Blues Head Mound on the right side. I then headed over to the Blues Head Mound and out through the grass using a cattle trail to the river. I then spent some time walking and enjoying that section of the river. On the way back I passed through the smaller mound next to Blues Head. There I found a bald eagles nest that was still occupied by an eaglet. The total hike was a little over 7 miles and it took a little over 5 hours. GPS Coords: 28 31.972N 80 55.975W



#2
- This hike started at parking area # 22 off Powerline Road in the Tosohatchee WMA. We went north up through the cypress forest that is located in the area just above James Creek. The creek and the cypress forest area was just about dry, so water wasn’t a problem. If it is the wet season I doubt this could be done. At one point we headed out to the river that has some of the nicest cypress trees around. We worked up the river and then headed back into the woods using an old road we located up there. We looped back down through the cypress forest to the parking lot. The watermarks from TS Fay on the trees were very impressive. The total hike was about 6.5 miles and it took about 5.25 hours. GPS Coords: 28 31.326N 80 55.076W



#3 - This hike started at parking area # 22 off Powerline Road in the Tosohatchee WMA. We headed out to the James Creek basin and then down it to what is Mud Lake. Both James Creek and Mud Lake were pretty dried up, so walking out to the river was no problem. This part of the river is nice, but certainly not the nicest section. As in all the areas we saw a variety of wildlife. The total hike was about 5.6 miles and it took about 5 hours. GPS Coords: 28 30.655N 80 54.110W



#4 - This hike started in the parking area for Canaveral Marsh off RT50. It was a very long hike. It took me along a large section of the river, over Paw Paw Mound and back to the parking area. I headed west along what is the blue blazed trail and then turned southwest staying on the blue trail. When I came to the Addison Canal I followed that down to the river. It then took me a little while to find dry cattle trail through the grass over to Paw Paw Mound. From there I looped back up to the parking area. The views of the river in this section are also very pretty, certainly worth the trip. This also is a dry season hike and preferably a winter hike as it is just about 99% in the sun. I saw a variety of wildlife as well as horses and a large amount of cattle. The total hike was about 9.7 miles and it took about 6 hours. GPS Coords: 28 31.228N 80 54.117W



#5
- This hike also started in the parking area for Canaveral Marsh off RT50. I headed west along what is the blue blazed trail and then turned southwest staying on the blue trail. When I came to the Addison Canal I headed west following it. The trail took me to the RV area that you can see from RT50. I followed the fence down into a mound area and then out near the river. This hike only goes near the river for a very short time. What is nice are the trails it takes you through the mound area. The trails are blazed, but at times hard to spot, so keep your eyes open. This also is a dry season hike and preferably a winter hike, as it can get pretty hot out there. I saw a variety of wildlife and got some nice wildflower pictures. The total hike was about 9.7 miles and it took about 5 hours. GPS Coords: 28 30.591N 80 52.266W

 

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St Johns River Below RT528
These are of some of my hikes into the river area just below RT528. This area is interesting and has some nice views, but it is not as pretty as the above hikes. In order to start the hikes you must enter Tosohatchee WMA using the Taylor Creek Road entrance and then drive down Fish Hole Road, using the underpass go under RT528 and then take the first left all the way to parking area #13


Details about the hikes below RT528
using numbers in above map 

#1 (blue line) - as I mentioned, this hike starts at parking area #13 in the Tosohatchee WMA. I crossed the wooden bridge, heading west. I then headed south down around the pond in the map. You will then pickup a blazed orange horse trail (actually both horse and people, but the horse people blazed it, so I call it a horse trail) heading south. Once pretty far down you will use cattle trails to get you out to the river. This area is pretty flat and not the prettiest, but it is still nice. I found a few small ponds with some small gators in them. As you can see from the blue line, I traveled inland a little before heading north back to the parking area. I saw a variety of wildlife as well as large amount of cattle. The total hike was about 7.15 miles and it took a little over 5 hours. GPS Coords: 28 25.761N 80 54.159W



#2
(yellow line) - this hike also started at parking area #13 in the Tosohatchee WMA. I crossed the wooden bridge, heading west. I then headed south down around the pond in the map. You will then pickup a blazed orange horse trail (actually both horse and people, but the horse people blazed it, so I call it a horse trail) heading south. Once pretty far down you will use cattle trails to get you out to the river. This area is pretty flat and not the prettiest, but it is still nice. I found a few small ponds with some small gators in them. For this hike I headed back into the blazed trail after exploring the area for a while, then I headed north back to the parking area. I saw a variety of wildlife as well as large amount of cattle. The total hike was about 6.2 miles and it took a little over 5 hours. GPS Coords: 28 26.234N 80 54.074W

 

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St Johns River at Lake Winder
These are of some of my hikes into the river area around Lake Winder. This area is interesting and has some nice views, but it is not as pretty as some of the hikes. In order to start the hikes you must enter the River Conservation Area (Moccasin Island) from Wickham Road. Follow the dirt road out to the parking lot.

 
Details about the hikes at Lake Winder using numbers in above map  
#1 - I went north out of the parking area up to the observation area overlooking Lake Winder (actually the St Johns River). You will just get a view of the river, because of a canal in the area you cannot get close to it. This also is best undertaken in the winter as you are about 98% of the time in the sun. The total hike was about 6.2 miles and it took a little over 4 hours. GPS Coords: 28 15.189N 80 49.882W

 
#2 - I went north out of the parking area then headed west out to the Moccasin Island area. As you can see from the blue line I looped back to the parking lot. This hike provides you with a pretty view of Lake Winder and some nice areas to visit. Because of the lower area, it is recommended you only try this hike in the dry season. Also the grass around the island area can be so thick that it is almost impossible to get through, so be aware of that. This also is best undertaken in the winter as you are about 98% of the time in the sun. I have taken this hike a number of times, varying it a little each time. I have seen a variety of wildlife in the area. The total hike was about 6.2 miles and it took a little over 6 hours. GPS Coords: 28 14.685N 80 50.582W

 
#3 - I took this hike one day when all the conditions were perfect - grass had been burned down, the area was very dry and there were no hunters around (actually no one around). I was very fortunate to be in the area when all the stars seemed to be aligned in my favor, as they say. I have hiked this area many times, but this was the first time I tried this loop along the river. I headed west out of the parking lot on the south side of the canal. Once I hit the conservation area I found a trail and headed south, crossing the canal at the area provided. From there I headed west again until I hit the road and headed south. I then found the road out to the St Johns River and followed it west until I hit the river. I followed the river up to Lake Winder (I must tell you that there were some pretty big gators in the river that day) and then I followed the canal back to the parking lot. The river was very pretty that day, a different stretch for me. I was very lucky this day for more than one reason. I saw a large variety of wildlife during the hike. The total hike was about 11.2 miles and it took me almost 8 hours. GPS Coords: 28 14.422N 80 51.094W



You can see many of the pictures I've taken during visits at - St Johns River Panoramio Pictures
I have created a couple of hikes I’ve taken and posted to the Internet - you can see them at WIKILOC Hikes - just look for the areas named above.

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