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.
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.
When hiking the trail, keep in mind:
- During the warmer months, insects can be bothersome. Bug spray or lotions should be applied prior to hiking the trail.
- Pets are welcome on the trail but are not permitted on the sandy beach.
- Collecting plants, artifacts, sand dollars and starfish is prohibited. Please take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints.
Currently the Maritime Hammock Trail is the only nature trail accessible due to damage from Hurricane Michael. The Wilderness Preserve Trail and Bay View Trail are not accessible at this time. Once access to the northern section of the peninsula is restored, work to reopen the other trails will occur.