Location: Cedar Point (NPS), 9023 Cedar Point Road, Jacksonville, Florida 32226.
Hours: Sunrise to sunset.
Description: Approximately 400 acres of upland hammocks and saltwater marshes.
History: Like much of old Florida, Cedar Point, which lies on the south tip of Black Hammock Island, has seen a great deal of change through the past two hundred years. Now preserved as a natural environment, the area was once subjected to agriculture during the plantation period of the 19th century, and management as a pine plantation during the 20th century. These human activities have left their mark on the land. The National Park Service acquired the Cedar Point acres in 1998.
Activities/amenities: Nature trails for hikers and cyclists, canoe and kayak and boat launch, and restrooms. Leashed dogs welcome. Old fire trails provide almost five miles of hiking opportunities. A boat ramp provides access to some of the best fishing spots in the region. Birdwatchers come to Cedar Point to see over 200 species of birds, including the beautiful painted bunting.
Live oaks provide much needed shade in
Cedar Point. Photo by Mark Gabrynowicz.
Personal observations: Park either at the end of Cedar Point Road or at the boat ramp (parking at ramp is minimal, take care not to tie up a space large enough for a vehicle and trailer). The trail is unmarked but starts behind the manatee sign by the ramp. This well-established trail will take you along some beautiful marsh front and merge with the marked trail and makes a refreshing hike through old Florida. Lots of shade here in the warm months and sea breezes in the afternoon. Wide well-groomed trails through pine barrens and hardwood hammocks draped with Spanish moss. The views along the marsh will amaze you and most times you can hike the trails without seeing another hiker.
Notable: Cedar Point provides some of the best access to the tidal creeks and salt marshes in the Timucuan Preserve.
Advice: The upgraded boat ramp provides small boats access to the preserve’s tidal creeks. Power boats need to watch the tides as low tide can be mighty low. However, it’s a dream paddle for those with kayaks and canoes. The fishing is good, and the birding can be spectacular. Insect repellent is a must.
You can also check out additional beautiful hiking trails at nearby Cedar Point Preserve which is a City of Jacksonville preservation park (7116 Cedar Point Road).
Directions: Traveling from Interstate 95, exit at the I-295 East Beltway (Exit 362A). From I-295, exit at Heckscher Drive (Exit 41) and head east. Continue on Heckscher Drive to the next traffic signal at New Berlin Road. Turn left at the traffic light and follow New Berlin Road to the intersection with Cedar Point Road (a triangle intersection). Turn right on Cedar Point Road and follow it bearing to the right at Black Hammock Island, continue on Cedar Point Road to the end of the road. The Cedar Point boat ramp will be on your left.
For more information:
Cedar Point – http://www.nps.gov/timu/