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Jacksonville’s best scenic trails: Timucuan Preserve

Hiking in the Timucuan Preserve can take you to a number of individual parks.
Hiking in the Timucuan Preserve can take you to a number of individual parks. (Photo via National Park Service)

Miles of trails stretching across a wide range of natural ecosystems await visitors who venture out to the Timucuan Preserve, your 2020 choice for Jacksonville’s best local scenic trails.

This 46,000-acre ecological and historical preserve features several individual parks, each steeped in its own natural and cultural history. An afternoon hike might bring you to Fort Caroline National Memorial, Kingsley Plantation, Pumpkin Hill or the Talbot Islands. Depending on where you go, you could find sandy beaches, shaded hammocks, salt marshes or a mixture of them all.

With so much ground to cover, it’s worth spending some time planning out your trip in advance. You can find detailed descriptions of each of the park’s areas, along with maps of individual trails and picnic areas, on the National Park Service’s website.

If you can’t imagine exploring the parks without your best friend, don’t fret: the preserve is pet-friendly. Dogs must be kept on leashes at all times, and you should bring bags to pick up after them.

P.S. Don’t forget your water and bug spray.