Bull Creek (Herky Huffman) WMA - Hiking

The Bull Creek/Herky Huffman Wildlife Management Area, with its vast array of trails, will appeal to both the serious hiker and friends out for a casual walk in the woods. Those with a sense for genealogy might find themselves lingering in a very old cemetery. If you want see more of the area, there is the option of driving along a picturesque loop road that takes you down near a beautiful small lake. I have frequented this area, hiking many of its trails (though not all of them) and driven around the area to experience a variety of views. The only drawback for hikers and wildlife viewers are the times of the year that this area dedicates to hunting. It tends to be a popular sport so I suggest that you make yourself aware of the hunting schedule, and at all times be extra cautious.

Trails From RT192
From the parking area on RT192, pass through a gate and head out on the orange blazed Florida Trail, beginning on the right side of the berm just as you reach the bottom. As you follow the blazed trail through the woods, passing a small pond along the way, you arrive at the Jane Green Campsite established by the Florida Trail Association. At that site you will find a primitive camp area with a picnic table and a fire pit. There also is a hand water pump, but it is not recommended for use. From here you can head further south or elect to follow the Florida Trail. I normally follow the orange blazed trail to the west. On this trail you will come across three footbridges crossing Bull Creek. I have seen a variety of wildlife in that area - from limpkins, to owls, to a large alligator, to river otters frolicking in a creek. Eventually the orange blazed trail swings to the southwest. You can continue on that trail, looping back when you like (it does go all the way to Key West) or branch off and go to the very old "Crab Grass Cemetery". If you wish to do some more exploring, there are some white blazed trails that will take you out and around the area below where the cemetery is located.

Crab Grass Cemetery (Crabgrass Cemetery)
This is a very old cemetery located in the Bull Creek WMA. You can get to it by hiking in from RT192 or if you wish and have a hardy vehicle, drive in from the loop road. There is a sign on the loop road that will direct you to the cemetery. This cemetery has been referred to as the "Bull Creek Cemetery", but that is incorrect. The Bull Creek Cemetery is located down below Billy Lake, on the other side of Bull Creek. The only way I know of to get to that cemetery is from RT441. That area is private property so it is not available to the public. As of this writing there where 22 graves in Crab Grass Cemetery - oldest being 1883 to newest being 2000. A fence surrounds the cemetery; please display proper respect the dead and those that mourn them when visiting.

Loop Road
There is a road that loops around the center of Bull Creek WMA. You get to the road by entering Crabgrass Road off RT192. Just follow Crabgrass Road until you come to the entrance to the WMA. You must sign in and out at the main entrance. If it is hunting season you will notice much activity in the area. There are restrooms located in the area for your use. I’m not sure, but I assume anyone can camp there. Should you find out otherwise please post a comment. Park in the designated area and begin hiking the trails from there, either heading north or south. If you head south and follow the orange blazes you will come to the "Forever Ranch" (http://www.foreverflorida.com/) - that is another nice place to visit - it is not part of this WMA. The loop road itself is a dirt road, usually in pretty good condition. It does flood during the wet season, leaving many ruts and sink holes during the dry season that are rough on your vehicle. The whole area is open to the public, so if you wish to stop and explore, feel free to do so at anytime. The Florida orange blazed trail is near the road at times, giving you the option to stop and hike for a spell. Down in the southern section there is a road off the main loop road that leads to "Billy Lake" - see write-up below. The road loops as stated, and eventually you will get back to the entrance to the WMA.

Billy Lake
Billy Lake is actually a section of Bull Creek where you can stop and enjoy a very pretty Florida scene. You can launch a kayak there if you wish. I have been there a number of times, at times having the whole place to ourselves, while at other times sharing it with some "locals"! The only drawback that I find with the place is that I find myself picking up some of the litter left by people who just don’t respect the wilderness. I have explored the area, seeing a large variety of wildlife - birds, gators etc, as well as some beautiful cypress trees. Like any place near a creek, in the wet season you might not get that close.

Palmetto Scrub
There is any number of ways to explore Bull Creek, from the spots I mentioned to a parking area on Crabgrass Road. The parking area on Crabgrass road will give you access to the palmetto scrub, if you wish to explore that. You can also explore Crabgrass Creek from that parking area. Across Bull Creek There is a whole area of Bull Creek WMA which is hard to get to, but well worth visiting. The section I'm referring to is actually on the east/southeast side of Bull Creek. You can get to this section by crossing Bull Creek on the road found at N28 0.799 W80 55.668 (this road is normally closed so you have walk or bike it - it also can be underwater). If the water in Bull Creek is high, you will actually need a boat to get across it. You also can get into it from the dike out of RT192, again a bike might be the way to go because of the distance. Once into this area, you will find plenty of old roads to explore, as well as a variety of ecosystems. To the south you will hit barbed wire fences, do not cross them as the property is private owned by Deseret Ranch. The coords for the center of the section I have been in are N28 0.361 W80 55.446.

GPS Locations Note: can use in Google Earth "Fly to" box - just "copy & paste the coords to Google Earth to zoom to the spot
  • RT 192 Parking Area - N28 07.000 W80 55.957
  • Crabgrass Road Entrance - N28 04.977 W80 57.724
  • Crabgrass Road Parking Area - N28 06.951 W81 00.480
  • Crab Grass Cemetery - N28 06.090 W80 56.792
  • Billy Lake - N28 00.029 W80 56.470
  • Jane Green Campsite - N28 06.399 W80 55.640
  • Old Road Crossing Bull Creek - N28 0.799 W80 55.668
  • South Edge of Bull Creek WMA - N27 59.880 W80 55.659

A few of hikes that can be viewed/downloaded -
WIKILOC Bull Creek / Florida Trail from RT192
WIKILOC Bull Creek WMA / Florida Trail
WIKILOC Bull Creek / Crabgrass Cemetery Hike 
Pictures from Bull Creek Area (Click on picture to enlarge)
River Otter in Bull Creek

Butterfly on ButtonBrush Flower Next to Bull Creek

Billy Lake

Billy Lake

Small Pond Next to Florida Trail

Crab Grass Cemetery

Jane Green Campsite

Foundation of Old FIT Observatory

Oak Hammock Next to Loop Road

Loop Road

Crabgrass Road Entrance


Unknown said...

Question: Do you need a gate code and/or permit to drive on the loop road?

Tom Choma said...

No permit needed to drive around Bull Creek Loop - can drive to cemetery and over to creek view or even launch a kayak from the creek access - down at the end of the loop. Enter the main entrance from Crabgrass Creek Road off RT192. I would avoid it during hunting season if your not looking to hunt - look at the hunting calendar on my website -

It is a very nice place to visit - Florida Trail is a nice hike.
Happy trails.....Tom

Anonymous said...

Tom I missed your photos on Google Earth found you again. You’ve been everywhere

Tom Choma said...

Hi-I have been lucky enough to visit and explore many areas while my legs and body allowed me to. Google first showed my photos with a lot of data, then they decided to take them away, but then brought back at least the photos, less some details. By turning on the layers function "photos" in Google Earth they can be seen. My only desire was to share the outdoors with as many people as I could before Florida "sprawl" takes it all over...very sad!