This is Hike #50 in the book 50 Hikes in Central Florida, completed on December 27, 2021.
After I completed a morning hike at Maritime Hammock Sanctuary, I stopped to pick up lunch at Firehouse Subs, then drove back south to Turkey Creek Sanctuary Park. I ate lunch in my car before walking to the park entrance around 12:45 pm.
The hike didn’t seem promising at first with the park being very crowded and starting with several wooden boardwalks. It began down the Creek Overlook Trail until it reached a boardwalk on the right. I climbed onto the boardwalk, its boards covered with the names of visitors (and some memorials) who donated to the park. There were a few scenic overlooks from the boardwalk, though.
Many turtles (and fish) could be seen swimming in the creek or sunning themselves (turtles, not fish) on logs.
At the southernmost point of the Hammock Loop Trail boardwalk, a surface trail headed off south along Turkey Creek. Here, it was more scenic and less crowded—perhaps because a sign warned of alligators and snakes. I saw neither.
I walked clockwise around the short Hackberry Trail that was unremarkable after it left the creek. I returned to the boardwalk to complete the Hammock Loop Trail. It rejoined the Creek Overlook Trail where I walked east along a bend in Turkey Creek. Spaced along this trail were several boardwalks to observation decks over the creek (see photo, at top).
At the end of the Creek Overlook Trail, the book suggested taking the short side Floodplain Trail down to the river’s edge. So I climbed down the switchback trail and crossed a few boardwalks to the end of the trail.
Even here I encountered several groups of people as I made my way back up to the main trail. Back at the top, I joined the Sand Pine Trail. I soon came to the start of the Turkey Oak Trail and I turned right to take it back across the north side of the park.
This trail was flat and wide and covered with pine needles. I did not see any people on this stretch.
The Turkey Oak Trail returned to the picnic pavilion near the beginning of the hike. But it was not finished yet. The book’s route suggested continuing to another trail through a clearing. Here I got up-close to ten to twelve gopher tortoises enjoying the sunshine. They were not too bothered as I approached within a few feet of them.
A little way down a fitness trail, I turned right on the Scrub Trail, a short loop trail that was pointless except for seeing one more gopher tortoise in its burrow.
I rejoined the jogging and exercise trail and turned right. The rest of the hike was following this trail, passing each of the exercise stations. It ended at a small outdoor classroom area.
In the end, this turned out to be a pleasant 3-mile hike once I got away from the crowds. I finished at 2:30 pm.
This was the second of two hikes on this day, my first was at #49 Maritime Hammock Sanctuary.
Being near Melbourne, I had to take the opportunity of visiting Intracoastal Brewery. I arrived and found a great parking space in the back near the courtyard. I ordered a flight of six beers, staying on the light side. I sipped my beers slowly, then spent a little time exploring the brewery before heading back to Daytona Beach. It was a great way to celebrate the completion of five more hikes from the book in 2021.