Hikers looking for a quiet place to stroll in Pinellas County will enjoy hiking the Wildlands Hiking Trail at Brooker Creek Preserve. The trail system is accessible from two trailheads. Six (6) paths creating four (4) loops wind over creek crossings, through majestic pines, past stately cypress, and under large protective oaks. Take a step and return to nature by enjoying a stroll through “Our Wildest Place.”
Hours: Open 7 days a week, 7:00 a.m. to time posted, approximately one hour before sunset. Daily closing time is posted at the entrance to the Preserve and at the hiking trailheads. Holidays: Closed Christmas and the day AFTER Thanksgiving.
Ed Center Trail Loop
This trail is an easy stroll from the Education Center and includes both elevated boardwalks and firm sand trails. Visitor’s feet remain dry as the boardwalk meanders through bottomland swamps toward the drier, shady oak hammocks. Impressive views of Brooker Creek are possible from the bridges that span the Preserve’s namesake. The Interpretive Trail Signs at Brooker Creek Preserve begin as soon as visitors step onto the boardwalk leading to the Center. They continue along the Wildlands Hiking Trail’s Education Center Trail Loop. Phase I, installed in 2006, and the recently completed Phase II signs treat visitors to a multi-sensory experience as they discover everything in nature is connected through dynamic relationships. The main messages of the signs include:
Flatwoods Trail Loop
This sand trail, which includes portions of the Wilderness Trail, makes its way through several pine flatwoods communities. Evidence of prescribed fire can be seen along much of this trail. The low-growing saw palmetto, abundant grasses and flowering plants that abound are all indications of a healthy pine flatwoods system. This trail is the perfect loop for the moderate hiker.
Blackwater Cutoff Loop
Hikers encounter alternating dry conditions in pine flatwoods and wet conditions in forested wetlands along this trail. Near the northern portion of the loop hikers cross one of the 13 channels of Brooker Creek. This loop, which includes portions of the Wilderness Trail, may be closed during the summer for high water. Hikers should plan ahead for this challenging section.
Pine Needle Path Loop
Hikers encounter pine flatwoods, cypress swamps, forested wetlands, and cross yet another channel of Brooker Creek on this more challenging trail. This trail may be closed during the summer for high water. Wilderness Trail hikers return to the Center and parking area via Pine Needle Path. This loop is for the serious hiker.
This short path, readily accessible from the main parking lot, leads hikers through an oak hammock and ends at a freshwater marsh. A viewing blind enhances opportunities for bird enthusiasts.
Help us manage these trails for the enjoyment of all hikers and the protection of our natural resources.