Hiking the Tomoka Trail

Sign at the Tomoka Trailhead

Take A Walk In The Past...

The Tomoka Trail is a half mile trail that travels along the Tomoka Point peninsula. At the time of the first European visit to the Tomoka Point in 1605 the land was a maritime hammock. The word hammock is a Seminole word meaning shady place. As you walk the trail you can still see crooked salt pruned maritime oak trees. The area was the site of a Timucua village known as Nocoroco. Nocoroco became an organized Timucua village around 1300 B.P. and was the largest village noted by Spanish explorers in northeast Florida.

Wild coffee tree on the Tomoka Trail
Wild Coffee

In the 1770s the land was an indigo plantation known as Mount Oswald. First settler noted that the area was the highest spot in the Tomoka Basin and apply named it as a small mountain. Valuable Indigo was the only source of blue dye, thus Europeans of high status coveted blue dyed clothes and we have terms today such as royal blue. Indigo plants can be seen throughout Tomoka and especially in the southern end of the trail.

Native wild coffee plants thrive in the shady areas under the trees. The plant produces small red berries that contain two seeds and birds in the area feed on those seeds. Wild coffee berries were once brewed into coffee by early settlers, however they do not contain caffeine. 

If you look on the shaded branches of the oaks in the hammock, you will see ferns growing in their bark. These are known as resurrection ferns, they become dry and brown during drought conditions and green in rainy season.

Woodpecker cavity in a tall pine tree
Woodpecker cavity

Birds that can be seen on the trail include woodpecker, cardinals, catbirds, mockingbirds and blue jays. During the winter you often can see American Bald Eagles sitting in the pine trees. There are three eagle nests within three miles of the trail, as the eagles are attracted to Tomoka Point for access to fish and as a great vantage point to the entire area. If you scan some of the dead pine trees you will see holes drilled by the pileated woodpecker. The goal is to leave dead trees where possible to serve as animal and bird habitats. 

Two bald eagles on branches of a tree one is flying away
Bald eagle pair

Take time to stop, look, listen, and contemplate the people who lived here and traveled the same path for thousands of years as you pass through the landscape of... the Real Florida.