As we get ready to celebrate National Take a Hike Day on November 17, we are exploring parks and preserves from the north to the south, the east to the west. Our city has plenty of parks for you to enjoy. All are great places to visit and have unique ecosystems to explore. We recently took you to the northernmost park and now we are heading south.
Julington-Durbin Creek Preserve
The southernmost park in our park family is Julington-Durbin Creek Preserve located in southwest Duval County with the main entrance at 13150 Bartram Park Blvd. It is a peninsula formed at the confluence of Julington and Durbin creeks and has approximately nine miles of shoreline along the two creeks.
Hike, Bike or Ride Horseback: The preserve offers options for your walk, bike or horseback ride in nature. For a long hike, take the Yellow and White Blaze Loop Trails which combined is 6.1 miles round trip. You will walk through sandy flatwoods with pine and brush, but you will also find swamp environments, creeks and hammocks with different vegetation and wildlife. You have a chance to see wildlife including deer, turkeys, gopher tortoises, armadillos, raccoons, bald eagles, osprey and several species of wading and songbirds. Make sure you bring your insect repellent.
Shorter Hike: You can take the trail from the parking area to the Durbin Creek/Red Blaze Spur Trail which is two miles round trip or choose the White Blaze Loop Trail which is 3.9 miles round trip.
Canoe or Kayak: You can put in at the kayak launch at the Palmetto Leave Regional Park South Entrance off Old St. Augustine Road, across from the Bartram Trail Shopping Center. Durbin Creek is nice and deep but be careful of the stumps or vegetation debris that you might have to paddle over or around.
Did you know? Julington-Durbin Creek Preserve was the first major purchase for the City of Jacksonville’s Preservation Project (TPF’s precursor). It was obtained in 2001 in partnership with the State of Florida and St. Johns River Water Management District. At the time, it was called the “most important and significant conservation effort” in the city’s history.