This is Hike #44 in the book 50 Hikes in Central Florida, completed on February 17, 2019.
This was my first hike from the book. Ponce Preserve is in Ponce Inlet, a short 20-minute drive from my place. I set off on a late Sunday afternoon knowing that the suggested trail was only 1.6 miles long. The site lies on a strip of land between the Halifax River and the Atlantic Ocean so the trail was sandy with broken shells. The perimeter loop trail circles the historic Green Mound with extensions over boardwalks to the ocean and river.
Leaving the parking lot, I hiked across the peninsula then turned north walking parallel to Atlantic Avenue past the observation tower. After crossing the road for a quick look at the beach, I continued counter-clockwise around the Green Mound, stopping to read the historical marker. Although the book showed only one, there were two designated historic trees.
I finished the perimeter loop and returned to the parking lot before crossing Peninsula Drive for the boardwalk trail to the river. Walking across the salt prairie, I observed sea birds flying over black and red mangrove. The boardwalk trail ended at a covered observation deck in the Halifax River where boats, Jet Skis, kayaks, and paddleboarders passed by at different speeds.
After enjoying the river view, I returned to the parking lot by the entrance. Because the suggested hike was so short I hiked a few extra sections of trail which made my distance a bit more than the recommended 1.6-mile route.
After my hike I stopped in McK’s Tavern for a cold pint of hefeweizen and fish & chips dinner.