Bulow Creek protects nearly 5,600 acres, more than 1,500 of which are submerged lands. The highlight of Bulow Creek is one of the largest remaining stands of southern live oak forest along Florida's east coast. The reigning tree is the Fairchild Oak, one of the largest live oak trees in the south. For more than 400 years it has been a silent witness to human activities along Bulow Creek, including the destruction of the neighboring Bulow Plantation during the Second Seminole War in 1836. Several trails allow hikers to explore the interior of the park, where visitors can see white-tailed deer, barred owls and raccoons. The Bulow Woods Trail, nearly seven miles long, takes hikers to Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park. Visitors can picnic in a shady pavilion or at a table on the lawn within view of the Fairchild Oak.
I traveled from North Florida looking for trails to hike with my dog. I was a bit thrown off at first by the residential neighborhoods surrounding the area including inside the state park. However, once we found Fairchild (make sure this is where you park) the trail was not crowded a bit. Typical Florida trail, flat, a little muddy, but some lovely scenery. Some swampy scenic area the first mile, a marsh second mile, a small stream past the third mile. We saw some tortoises & beautiful wetland birds. I took the trail in January so no problem with bugs! Enjoy!
Found this beautiful place while on a beach vacation. I can only handle so many days of staring at the surf with a beer in hand, so I did a little searching and tackled this trail on a muggy Florida day. Amazing trail, swampy and primordial. The flora was spectacular--huge live oaks in every direction, interspersed with swamps and scrubland. I truly felt transported to a pre-human era. Such a wonderous place, although the 5 or 6 huge black snakes I saw along the trail creeped me out a bit! Don't do this trail if you don't like reptiles!
This is a great trail that will take you through some "Real Florida." Start at the Fairchild Oak and hike through to the Bulow Plantation Ruins State Park. The trail will take you through pine forest, oaks, and along salt water marshes. We saw some ibis and a couple of wood storks. We hiked this in mid-February and there were no bugs but be prepared for some muddy hiking along the salt marshes. Also, if you're planning on checking out the plantation ruins at the end of the hike, make sure you have $4 in cash to pay the entrance fee. No cards accepted, exchange change only at the self-pay station. There is a shortcut that will shorten the overall length by about two miles, but I recommend the full trail for at least the trip to the ruins.
This makes a nice hike for a day when you're up for covering substantial distances, but want the trail conditions relatively easy. Yes, there will probably be some muddy and puddly stretches near the trail's north end, and yes you'll probably want insect repellent, but, well, this is Florida after all! We hiked this one as a there-and-back (about 13.5 miles) and found it a pleasant break from the Florida Trail sections we'd hiked inland earlier in the week--those were wilder and more remote, which is great, but they're often challenging to follow, and when they're flooded they're really, reeeaaally flooded. If you want to hike this as a there-and-back, I'd suggest starting from the south end (Bulow Creek State Park, which is free), where there are toilets and some beautiful old live oaks to gaze at as you gulp your drink before hitting the trail. There's a small free trailhead parking area at the north end, too (Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park), but don't count on wandering beyond it unless you plan to pay to tour the ruins--they're very strict about that. There's good birding in the canopied stretches of the trail, lots of lovely old-growth oaks and magnolias, and some interesting ferns and cycads as well. FloridaHikes.com has a decent trail description and map: http://floridahikes.com/bulowcreek.
We hiked this trail, starting at the Fairchild oak. It was canopy covered with oak trees. We followed the yellow blaze markers all the way to the plantation ruins. We battled deer flies and spider webs most of the way. Thankfully, no mosquitoes. The closer we got to the ruins it became quite flooded and mucky! It was an adventure. The only wildlife we seen was a tortoise. My advise, take lots of water. Don't think your going to replenish your water supply at the plantation ruins because the water coming out of the fountain there is horrible. It is brown and salty. I'm sure it's straight from the river.
Decent cardio trail. No elevation points. It's geared more towards trail running and hiking than mountain biking. Lots of roots and unstable ground. Gets quite muddy at the northern side. It's quite overgrown at parts but small enough not get off course.
You have to be extremely careful with this trail. First off, if you go in the hight of mosquito season, you may want to skip this trail. We hit the trail after two days of light rain and it was a beast. Bug spray helped but they still got me through my shoes - lesson learned about treating socks - and my shirt (need to treat ahead of time). On top of that, the trail was flooded in multiple locations. If the trail had been dry or I hadn't been hiking leading a youth group through the woods, the trail would have been a wonderful challenge and experience. I'm rating it three stars for the poor trail conditions and the high propensity for mosquito attacks.
The trail head is in Fairchild Oak section of Bulow Park, next to the south trail head for Bulow Trail, very short, about .5 miles, flat, mostly under light canopy. Many benches and informative plaques. No blazes, arrows on posts. A good trail to introduce youngsters to hiking. Good picnic spot. Rest rooms but no potable water.
This is a section of the Bulow Hiking Trail and a spur to the west. It is reached from a trail head on Boardman Road. The spur takes you to a platform overlook of a with many birds. This year the is very low due to the drought so the birds are quite a distance away. The platform has no shade, carry sun screen. It is a pleasant hike and easy even for beginners.
An easy trail. I hiked 6 1/2 miles from north to south. Starting at Bulow Plantation to Fairchild Oaks where I had left my car. If I didn't have a friend to help with transportation the round trip would have been 13 miles. The start is shaded by a heavy canopy and this time dry because of the long drought. The first bridge was over a dry creek the others were very low and hardly necessary. I've hiked this trail previously and the bridges were convenient. About one third of the way The trail crosses The Cisco Ditch, part natural, part manmade. Much of the trail is a maintenance/fire trail with little cover and requires sun screen. Just a bit before Boardman Rd. is a short spur trail to the west the Boardman Observation Platform on a pond with many water fowl which made a good lunch stop. A bit further the trail crosses Boardman Rd. and the canopy returns. Then comes a junction the west leg (yellow blaze) leads to substantial bridge over Bulow Creek and on to Fairchild Oaks the east leg (red blaze) is a loop leading back to the junction. The trail ends at Fairchild Oaks with its ancient Oak. I saw many birds, wild hogs, squirrels and, turtles and snakes as well as fish in the waters. The trail has recently been cleared and blazes repainted, easy to follow. Vandalism has closed the primitive camp site. All said it is a great, not challenging day hike