Hontoon Island Shell Mound Trail [CLOSED]

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Hontoon Island State Park

Hontoon Island Shell Mound Trail is a 4.8 kilometer moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Deland, Florida that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 4.8 km Elevation Gain: 5 m Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly



mountain biking

nature trips


bird watching



wild flowers



It has been reported this trail has a temporary closure due to COVID-19. Please see the park's website for up to date information. There is a nature trail which is the recommended trail for hikers. It is mostly shaded. A wider, utility vehicle trail can be used for biking, but it is not shady. The nature trail leads to an ancient Indian shell mound.

1 month ago

This is in the website of Alltrails and should show it is closed due to Covid 19. I drove over an hour to get here to find out it is closed. Not good.

4 months ago

Wet, but interesting hike. It’s a quiet winter hike. We’ve seen Pygmy rattlers twice on Hontoon, so stay alert.

Very nice park and personnel at this State Park. Nice trails to hike.

4 months ago

A good mixture of wooded and open area trails. We went the day after a heavy rain and the Hammock Trail was a little muddy but still passable. It was a nice pretty flat hike and the park is great. We are definitely going back!

7 months ago

to call the ferry lift the orange flag that is on a white pole next to the dock then they will come get you. I was able to see a couple hawks, a unique bug, a deer ,and a couple turtles. took my dog, but there are poisonous snakes on the island so i made him walk in the middle and looked ahead on the path to make sure there were none on the path.

7 months ago

This State Park is truly a hidden gem. The park is free, you arrive and grab all your items and put the flag up to ride the ferry across the river to Hontoon Island. They have wheelbarrows available for you to use if you have lots of stuff. They have kayaks and canoes that you can rent to adventure around the island. The island offers camping with tent sites and cabins with electric and water! You can also hike the trail to the Indian shell mound. They have a playground for kids a little store if you forgot something and the staff is amazing. They also have a van to assist you with all your stuff if you're camping. Great place can't wait to go back!

7 months ago

Great trail. A little bit of everything: woods, Marsh, open scrub brush area. Paths are clear cut, but watch for tree roots in some areas. We used bug spray and had no issues. The highlight was the Indian Burial Mound. As soon as you start the ascent, everything goes completely quiet, as if you entered another realm or sacred place. While in that area, we heard no birds, no bugs, but saw some golden orb weaver spiders. Whether you are a spiritual person or not, it was an amazing experience.

Mon Apr 29 2019

nice hike to shell mound. Flat till end where you hike up the mound. It's a small hill. Note you don't see a giant pile of shells, it's just a hill made over time. We returned from the interior bike roads. They can be very sunny in the prairie parts.

Fri Apr 26 2019

Great trail no recommended to beginners or elderly people a lot of trees' roots in the way.

Sun Mar 10 2019

great view clear trail

Sun Dec 30 2018

A little muddy at some points. Good trail.

Fri Dec 28 2018

Beautiful trail, but very prone to flooding. It's one of my favorite trails to walk in Central Florida. It is dog friendly.

Wed Dec 12 2018

Great fun, beginning with the short ferry boat ride to the island, short stop at the little visitor's center/museum, then met a ranger who answered a couple questions and pointed us in the right direction. We had a very nice hike on a cool day, went almost 4 miles since we took a side trip down to the river at one point; the recommended loop is 3 miles. It had recently rained so it was a bit muddy in a couple of spots, but not too bad. Saw wild turkeys and plenty of waterfowl; even an armadillo right next to the path. The highlight was the large ancient shell mound - very impressive. Easy to follow trails, well maintained, and varied terrain. It's about half way between Orlando and Daytona Beach. Highly recommend this hike. (There is no charge for the ferry boat ride or for entrance to the park.)

Sun Sep 23 2018

This was a great hike. there was some muddy areas however lovely canopy and we'll marked trails. Pet friendly will be back again. We loved the boat ride over to the island.

Sun Mar 25 2018

Took a couple mile hike for a few hours there, with Todd, Austin and my buddy Myron. Very easy hike, look like a lot of damage from Irma.

Wed Feb 14 2018

This is a well-kept trail with plenty of hiking and a great campground highly recommend the people are really nice and there’s a free ferry out to the island nice hidden gem

Sun Jan 21 2018

Peaceful and dog friendly. Easy hike with lots of palm trees and a free ferry ride over with a guide narrating the history

Sat Dec 02 2017

Hike with Robin and Mike. Watch for chiggers when finding dead limbs for walking stick. Interesting Native American area. Restrooms at the start and a nature building.

Sat Aug 26 2017

Not much of a hike in my opinion

Fri May 12 2017

Peaceful, quiet, shaded trail that was leisurely and easy to navigate. Very clean and well kept area. Would be nice if they had more benches along the trail to sit and watch for wildlife. Park staff runs a short party barge ferry from the parking lot across to the island park. They have kayak/canoe rentals as well. Ferry and park admission is free!

Thu May 04 2017

Part of this trail is through palmetto scrub and part through oak hammock with some board walks. If it has trained recently, use insect repellant. The shell mound next to the river is the highlight.

Tue Apr 04 2017

Hontoon Island is one of my favorite parks. Riding the ferry over is such a neat experience, and it's like time hasn't touched the place.

Mon Feb 27 2017

The overall place isn't really exciting. The one and only hiking trail wasn't worth it and is really short. However, they have these roads that end up at different camping turnouts, so we created a route to visit them to make it worth our hiking trip. Those roads were nice and pleasant to walk in 55F weather, late January. The ferry is free and just a minute ride to the otherside. Last ride is at 4.30pm to the island and 5pm from the island.

Tue Sep 27 2016

This terrific hike on Hontoon Island is part of a sanctioned trail sponsored by the Florida Volkssporting Association, of the AVA - America's Walking Club. Stop in the island store and ask for the "walk box" for maps/directions for a 3.1 mile (5 km) or 6.2 mile (10km) walk on the island.

Sun Sep 25 2016

Great trail hike! So much to see of old Florida. A true hiking gem!

Thu Feb 11 2016

Such a pretty park. Great hike. Not hard at all, some wet spots. Ferry took you from the trailhead to the island. Great restrooms.

Mon Jan 04 2016

My husband, 2 sons (age 6 & 10) took this trail! We had fun, it was a very nice trail that was pretty easy. It was raining but the trees provided so much cover that it was more like a drizzle. We got through it quickly(approx 1 hr 30mins) for us with kids thats awesome. When we reached where the mound began to form it got really scenic and interesting! We were really expecting a little more information on what to look for with the Indian shell mound, so we reached the end of the trail we didn't know where to look for the artifacts and stuff so we headed back through some other routes which were also nice and maintained. When we reached the information station we asked and found out that we were right on top of the mound and just didn't see it. But other than that, this island is really nice and the volunteers who help keep it running like the ferry boat operators are really nice and special! Would love to go camping here for the night and give it another try!

road biking
Sat Aug 15 2015

Great place to get away. Very quiet and peaceful. Good birding. Easy biking and walking trails. Lots of alligators.

Sun Jul 19 2015

I enjoyed this trail today. Not too strenuous, but plenty of things to keep it from being boring. I saw a wild turkey, a hawk, an osprey at her nest, plenty of water birds and song birds, two small gators...but no deer or armadillo. Not to crowded. I only encountered maybe 6-7 people while I was on the trail. The Indian ruins are pretty cool...they rise up and you look down upon the marshy area below. The big oak at the end is impressive and inspiring. I sat on the bench next to her and ate a snack and listened to what sounded like hundreds of tree frogs (it had just rained). Would love to go back and camp at this park in the near future.

Sat Dec 13 2014

Grew up hiking in these woods. You are guaranteed to see some wildlife.

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