Hiking the Trails

Boardwalk passes through heavily vegetated marsh.  Pink flowers can be seen along the boardwalk.

T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park has three nature trails for visitors to enjoy: 

  • The Maritime Hammock Trail is a half-mile scenic trail passing through three distinct natural communities and provides access to St. Joseph Bay.  
  • The Bayview Scenic Trail is approximately 1.6 miles and traverses through pine flatwoods along the St. Joseph Bay.  This trail is pet friendly.  
  • The Wilderness Preserve Trail offers a 6-mile hiking trail in the northernmost part of the Peninsula.  Wilderness Permit is required for access and can be obtained at the Ranger Station.  Pets are not permitted in the Wilderness Preserve.  

 

Maritime Hammock Trail 

The popular Maritime Hammock Nature Trail is open for hiking at T.H. Stone St. Joseph Peninsula State Park with a daily or annual park pass.

The half-mile scenic walk winds through three distinct natural communities, including a depression marsh, sand scrub and a coastal hammock. The boardwalk at the beginning of the trail passes through a depression marsh. Hikers can observe saw grass, slash pines and bracken ferns in the seasonally flooded marsh. 

As hikers progress on the trail, gentle rolling hills can be observed in the scrub habitat. This natural community is the largest plant community in the park and consists of very loose, soft sand. Common plants are sand pine, Florida rosemary, deer moss and Chapman oak.

Sandy path travels through scrub habitat.

The last portion of the trail loops through maritime hammock. In the dense vegetation are red cedar, Southern magnolia and red bay. Yaupon, sabal palm, resurrection fern and beautyberry are widespread within the hammock. 

Two benches along the bay shore are the perfect place to relax and enjoy ...the Real Florida

Bayview Scenic Trail  

The Bayview Scenic Trail, a 1.6-mile loop trail, offers views of St. Joseph Bay and traverses mostly through pine flatwoods habitat.  The flatwoods are characterized by an open canopy of tall pines, low ground cover of shrubs, grasses, and flowering plants.  The town of Port St. Joe can be seen across the bay.  

View of the Gulf

Along the trail you will see salt myrtle, yaupon, rosemary beach mint, chapman oak, sand pine, needle rush and many other native plants.  Great blue herons, great egrets, or snowy egrets are commonly seen wading in the bay.  

Parking is available at the trailhead located at Bayview Picnic Area, or campers can jump on the trail near the entrance of the Shady Pines Campground. 

Wilderness Preserve

Wilderness Preserve Trail  

Situated at the northernmost part of the St. Joseph Peninsula, the 1,700-acre Wilderness Preserve offers opportunities for solitude.  The preserve was established to preserve the unique and sensitive natural features of this area and provide an area for a true wilderness experience.  Take the center trail through the Wilderness Preserve to journey along the six-mile out and back trail flanked with gnarled sand pines, rosemary, and saw palmettos.   

Sandy path through the wild

The trek through rolling terrain and powdery sugar sands can make for a challenging hike.  Bring plenty of drinking water with you.  Once you leave the trailhead, there is no water or facilities available.  A water-fill station is provided at the entrance to the Wilderness Preserve.  

 

Wilderness Preserve

A wilderness permit is required for access and can be obtained at the Ranger Station.  Pets are not permitted in the Wilderness Preserve.  Service animals are welcome if required; please let us know that you have a service animal at time of arrival.  

Hikers must be out of the wilderness area one hour before sunset unless registered to camp.