50 Hikes: #48 Enchanted Forest Sanctuary

50 Hikes: #48 Enchanted Forest Sanctuary Gopher Tortoise

This is Hike #48 in the book 50 Hikes in Central Florida, completed on June 20, 2020.

I wanted to get some minor work done on my car in Merritt Island, so I scheduled it early in the morning so that I could fit in one of two Titusville hikes from the book. I arrived at the Enchanted Forest Sanctuary a little before noon. Before finding the trailhead, I took a moment to have a look at a gopher tortoise living in an enclosure in the middle of the parking loop.

50 Hikes: #48 Enchanted Forest Sanctuary

I arrived at the trailhead and set off down the paved Enchanted Crossing trail. It quickly took me to a boardwalk overlook with my first view of the Addison/Ellis Canal that runs through the sanctuary.

I continued on the Biodiversity Loop trail, a wide, sunny trail covered in a bed of pine needles that ran parallel to the canal.

50 Hikes: #48 Enchanted Forest Sanctuary

I quickly reached the junction of the Ridge Trail and turned south. This trail was similar but a pleasant walk downhill.

50 Hikes: #48 Enchanted Forest Sanctuary

At the southernmost point of the Ridge Trail loop near highway 405, I turned right on the short Coquina Quarry Trail to make a quick visit to the quarry at the bottom of the dead-end trail.

50 Hikes: #48 Enchanted Forest Sanctuary

After a short break, I hiked back up to rejoin the Ridge Trail and continued around the loop, heading back north. At the Tortoise Trail I turned right and headed into the hammock. This trail was shaded and cool but I soon arrived at a large, sunny junction with a covered trail map kiosk. This was Magnolia Junction.

50 Hikes: #48 Enchanted Forest Sanctuary

I hid my water bottle by the trail map and turned right to walk counterclockwise around the Magnolia Loop. On the ground I found a perfectly-formed nest on the trail; I did not see any eggs, eggshells, or birds around. I did cross paths with several people, alone and in groups.

After 1.1 miles, I arrived back at Magnolia Junction. I retrieved my hidden water bottle and rested on one of the benches. More people passed by. Next I walked north on the Tomoka Trail. The shady trail turned into a mossy boardwalk.

50 Hikes: #48 Enchanted Forest Sanctuary

The reason for the boardwalk became clear as it passed over pools of water, colored golden-brown in the sun.

50 Hikes: #48 Enchanted Forest Sanctuary

Back on dry land, Tomoka Trail ended at the Biodiversity Loop. I turned right to continue north on a second boardwalk, another pleasant section hiking through more floodplain woods. At the junction of the Coquina Trail, I turned right and descended down to the Addison/Ellis Canal.

Crossing the bridge, I took a photo (above, right) back towards where I came from. Then I climbed the wooden steps set into a steep hill to join the Coquina Trail which turned left and ran along the bluffs.

50 Hikes: #48 Enchanted Forest Sanctuary

This final section of the hike was open, sunny, and hot. On the left side were five overlooks that sort of gave views down to the canal. They were shaded, at least. Soon the trail turned left and went downhill to cross the canal near a historic marker. The sign described how the canal was built between 1911 and 1913 but abandoned when the builders found it too difficult to dig through the coquina rock.

50 Hikes: #48 Enchanted Forest Sanctuary Sign

The trail ended in the Butterfly Garden which displayed large samples of the coquina rock, holes worn into them by water erosion.

50 Hikes: #48 Enchanted Forest Sanctuary Rock Garden

Here I took a stroll through the garden, had a quick look at the amphitheater, and returned to the front of the Education Center. I found a bench in the shade to cool down and to find directions to Playalinda Brewing for my after-hike beer.

50 Hikes: #48 Enchanted Forest Sanctuary Route

Post-Hike Beer

I had previously visited the original Playalinda Brewing location (now called the “Hardware Store” location) but wanted to try the newer “Brix Project”, a larger, full menu brewpub. It was just four miles away, only slightly out of the way of my route home.

I found a large picnic table on the outside patio and ordered a flight of beers and a burger. The delicious lunch and refreshing beers were the perfect reward for a productive and enjoyable day in Brevard County.

50 Hikes: #48 Enchanted Forest Sanctuary Beer