Friday, February 3, 2017

Little Manatee State Park, 1/31/2017

Little Manatee State Park is a great place to do some hiking. Located in Wimauma, FL, about 40 miles from where we are staying in Lutz, FL, we put dinner in the crockpot, packed a picnic lunch, and left the RV park around 10 am

Activities at the park include hikingcanoeinghorseback riding, and camping at a full- service campground. Four and a half miles of the Little Manatee River flow through the park. We began our visit at the south side of park where we picked up a map of the hiking trails. 

We headed to the Oxbow Nature Trail that is accessible from the main picnic area. It is a one-mile loop trail through an oxbow wetland that provides views of the Little Manatee River. 

There is a a small amphitheater along the river here, as well as a picnic pavilion with grill, restroom, and playground in this part of the park. 

We proceeded to the equestrian parking lot and hiked a portion of the Sandpine Trail. Sadie had fun checking out the lizards and squirrels along the way. She never catches any but always has fun checking them out.

We exited this part of the park and headed north to where the trailhead of the 6.5 mile stacked-loop trail can be found (near Saffron Road on Rte 301). 

The first part of the trail is on an elevated boardwalk through a beautiful fern and pine forest. We hiked the entire trail starting with the northern part of the loop. 

Cabbage palms and slash pines can found along the northern part of the trail. Oak scrub trees could be seen as we continued along the trail. Dead trees provide homes for woodpeckers and other wildlife here. Controlled burns are done every 2-3 years to maintain the health of the forests. 

We heard lots of critters scurrying through the underbrush but did not see any of them. Also, birds can be heard everywhere. We saw a pair of beautiful eagles circling above, but I only got this one picture. 

We crossed Cypress Creek and the trail continued on an elevated boardwalk through a swampy wetland

The southern part of the trail continues near the banks of the Little Manatee River. 

We really enjoyed the hiking trails in this park, although we did not see much wildlife. The river provides picturesque views along the trail. It is well marked with white blazes on trees along the entire route. 

The admission fee to the park is $5/per vehicle (but we have an annual FL Park pass). It's a great place to enjoy the outdoors. 

For additional information about Little Manatee State Park, check out the following site:

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