Our first stop was the dog park to give Sadie a chance to run around and interact with other dogs. It is a large fenced in area (we were in the one for large dogs) and we enjoyed talking with other dog owners while our furry kids played.
After our picnic lunch, we drove to the northern part of the park to hike a couple of the nature trails here. There are three hiking trails, in total, that are each about .6 miles long.
We parked in a lot near one of the two playgrounds. Numerous shelters with grills can be found throughout the park (can be reserved online) as well as restroom facilities.
Lake Tarpon is 5 miles long, 1 mile wide, and 8-12' deep. Boats with combustion engines are permitted on it. A (public) boat ramp is available for use (for a fee). Swimming is not permitted due to the presence of alligators.
We followed the trail to an elevated walkway that extends into the lake. We saw alligators here, the interesting flowers of the water plants, anhingas (birds), and this cute turtle with just his head poking out of the water.
We followed the trail along the shore of Lake Tarpon where there are additional elevated boardwalks. Flying overhead were osprey, searching for fish in the lake.
Bald cypresses grow in abundance near the lae. I am always fascinated by the "knees" that grow all around them. In marshy areas of the park, they grow in among pine and palm trees, too.
Some parts of the trails are shell-covered and others boardwalks. Check out the growth of this tree on one of the boardwalks. It is always fascinating to see how nature finds a way.
Sadie had a great time sniffing along the trails, chasing lizards, and checking out squirrels as they scurried around in the trees.
It's always a pleasure to spend time in the beautiful outdoors, especially when we can bring Sadie with us on the trails. Between the dog park and the three short trails here, Chestnut Park is a great place to visit. Bring a picnic lunch! For additional information about Chestnut Park, check it out here: www.pinellascounty.org/park/04_chesnut.htm.