Myakka River State Park, Florida

I had been thoroughly enjoying my time in Florida lounging on beaches and reading but I couldn’t ignore the desire to go on a real hike — as opposed to nature trails or long beach walks — any longer. Myakka River State Park was about thirty miles inland and seemed to fit the bill so I headed out for what I hoped would be a decent hike. Well, things didn’t exactly work out as planned and for a variety of reasons that I won’t get into, my planned 6+ mile loop ended up being an 11 mile walk. I was directed by rangers to change course about a mile into my hike and I thus have no idea what trails I was actually on after the first one – only that I was very glad when I found my car again.

The state park is famous for it’s gators (a couple of which I saw by chance while looking for a ranger station) and has a variety of water-related recreation activities, but it’s also noteworthy for the extensive trail system that crosses prairie, hammock, pine forest, and wetland, all of which I inadvertently covered while getting semi-lost. A mile-long nature trail also contains palm tree habitat, an 84-foot long suspension bridge through the canopy, and a 74-foot high observation tower that provides views of the entire park.

Ranch House Road Trail, Myakka River State Park, Florida

Ranch House Road Trail, Myakka River State Park, Florida

Ranch House Road Trail, Myakka River State Park, Florida

Ranch House Road Trail, Myakka River State Park, Florida

Hammock habitat from trail, Myakka River State Park, Florida

Hammock habitat from trail, Myakka River State Park, Florida

White ibis, Myakka River State Park, Florida

White ibis, Myakka River State Park, Florida

Prairie habitat, Myakka River State Park, Florida

Prairie habitat, Myakka River State Park, Florida

Loblolly pines in pineland habitat, Myakka River State Park, Florida

Loblolly pines in pineland habitat, Myakka River State Park, Florida

Wetland, Myakka River State Park, Florida

Wetland, Myakka River State Park, Florida

Gators, Myakka River, Myakka River State Park, Florida

Gators, Myakka River, Myakka River State Park, Florida

Boylston Nature Trail, Myakka River State Park, Florida

Boylston Nature Trail, Myakka River State Park, Florida

Boylston Nature Trail, Myakka River State Park, Florida

Boylston Nature Trail, Myakka River State Park, Florida

Canopy Walk, Myakka River State Park, Florida

Canopy Walk, Myakka River State Park, Florida

Looking down on palm trees from observation tower, Myakka River State Park, Florida

Looking down on palm trees from observation tower, Myakka River State Park, Florida

Me on observation tower, Myakka River State Park, Florida

Me on observation tower, Myakka River State Park, Florida