Jonathan Dickinson is the only state park in south Florida where visitors can hike to the top of an ancient sand dune. The dune stands 86 feet above sea level, the highest natural point south of Lake Okeechobee. Hobe Mountain was once submerged in the Atlantic Ocean and as sea levels rose and fell the mountain was formed by high winds and the crashing of ocean waves.
Hobe Mountain is part of the Atlantic Coastal Ridge, a series of dunes and hills which parallel the Southeastern Florida coastline. The hills found in the eastern portion of the park adjacent to US highway 1 are some of the only hills found in the area and many of the plants and animals which grow upon them are unique to the desert like conditions of the dunes. The plant community which occupies these sand dunes, the Sand Pine Scrub, is a disappearing habitat which is home to plants and animals found nowhere else in the world. Many of these species are endangered and some are specific only to Jonathan Dickinson State Park and Florida. The Florida Scrub-Jay and Florida Scrub lizard are examples of species endemic to the Florida Sand Pine Scrub. Plant species such as the Florida Dancing Lady Orchid which is also found only in the park.
Park visitors can climb Hobe Mountain by way of a boardwalk leading them through the scrub and up to Hobe Mountain Tower which rises an additional 27 feet from the mountain. The observation tower allows for optimal viewing of the park, Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean.