Rice Creek Conservation Area Trails

HARD 18 reviews

Rice Creek Conservation Area Trails is a 5 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Springside, Florida that features a river. The trail is rated as difficult and primarily used for hiking and mountain biking.

DISTANCE
5.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
16 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

hiking

mountain biking

forest

river

wildlife

bugs

muddy

old growth

over grown

no dogs

Rice Creek was once a rice and indigo plantation. It is now floodplain swamp, flatwoods, and mixed forest. The area is also a key parcel for connecting Etoniah State Forest to the Cross Florida Greenway. The area serves as a wildlife corridor, connecting several large natural areas. Natural community diversity supports Florida black bear, white-tailed deer, turkey, river otter, wood duck and diverse migratory songbirds. Trails are rarely used. Wear DEET and carry a branch to clear spider webs. L trail is often muddy; W trail is always flooded. All worth it for Hoffman's Crossing, a 1,886-foot boardwalk.

hiking
1 month ago

I hiked this trail yesterday and it was mostly dry. I was able to complete this hike in sneakers without getting wet. Half of the trail was out in the open while the other half had the kind of forest hiking that drew me to the it. There were no gators but I came across a black snake and a couple of water moccasins . Only one other person on the trail at the time.

hiking
1 month ago

The good news is, if it was not wet it all on the trail. So I did not have to ruin another pair shoes. Our soils do drain rather quickly . The bad news was 2.3 miles in there was a 7 foot gator it was not going to budge from the trail. So I turned around. There are couple things I really wanted to see you again including: the big Cypress and boardwalk, and the two-story cabin. But that’s for another day. It was windy and so I only got bit by two mosquitoes. There was another gator on a bridge it’s Scampered the other way when I approached. However the first one despite cracking my tracking polls together and yelling hey gator, did not want to move it all. I believe I did the right thing.I did not need my polls for water, but they did come in handy when I had to go over a root zone of a very large tree that had toppled over. It looks like the Florida Trail volunteers have done a lot of work since Irma and taking down trees and replace boards on bridges. I do like this alone,

2 months ago

It’s wet!

backpacking
2 months ago

Wonderfully quiet walk. Observed baby gators, hawks, and a few snakes. All in all a great hike 6 miles complete.

hiking
3 months ago

The first part of the hike is boring and muddy. The interesting part is when you get into the swamp on the boardwalks. I was toe deep in water and up to ankle deep after 5 days of no rain. I can't imagine it getting much better than that.

I recommend staying on the service road and coming up to the large bald cypress from the back, doing a loop around the boardwalks and the camp grounds and coming back out the way you came in. There's nothing very interesting in the mud track to miss anyway.

On the boardwalk I saw a few large, over 6 foot alligators which made me somewhat nervous and I had to shoo away some water snakes. It's a wild swamp so I wouldn't recommend going in there alone, but definitely worth it.

hiking
3 months ago

I’m sure during a dry season it would be better/easier, but as of two days ago, I nearly needed knee high boots instead of my traditional sloggers that I wear, it was very wet after much rain, and the puddles and water on the trails are deceiving! Be careful because you might drop and/or sink down quite a bit stepping into water... besides that obvious note, once inside the trails, outside of the logging and hunting camp roads, it is really beautiful.. I wish there were more historical notes included in brochure or along the way, would love to get my bearings and envision where the Plantation actually would’ve been..

hiking
9 months ago

I'm glad I came back. But be warned it's the rainy season. You'll have to go through calf deep water just to get to the forest. Then a good 25% of the trails are underwater. Not even ankle deep. But you'll be sloshing along. A gator scampered off the trail by 10 feet in front of me. In to the water. The two-story Cabin is worth seeing. And all the bridges are just amazing. The Florida trail people do a fantastic job. Oh and thanks to brother Jim for the trekking poles they came in handy seriously

hiking
9 months ago

I did not get to spend much time here. But I'll definitely be back. You have to walk a half-mile in to get to the wooded part and two small sections of calf Deepwater. But the forest looks very interesting. Lots of spiderwebs and mosquitoes. But I really want to see the big cypress on my next visit.

hiking
Monday, April 17, 2017

I put this between three and four stars. It's definitely worth doing, but I probably wouldn't need to do it a second time. Quite an isolated trail (we didn't see a single other soul) and very dense for the first half before you get to the loop. Stick it out until you get to the loop, though, as it's worth it. The 8th largest Florida cypress is quite a sight. We also spotted five itty-bitty baby gators swimming in the creek. The 28 "bridges" over the rice field ditch dikes were interesting, too. After stopping to see the screened-in trail shelter, we continued onto the white trail, and then popped out to the timber road that runs parallel and back to the trailhead and parking area. I just didn't have it in me to re-navigate through that freaky dense part. 5.3 miles in all.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Beautiful!

hiking
Sunday, March 26, 2017

Beautiful hike along the creek, tons of wild life. We were crossing one of the bridges and on the embankment we saw like at least 10 baby gators, apart from that there were lots of birds, salamanders, possibly a boar? and of course plenty of bugs.

The campsite is also worth visiting, even if you're not staying overnight. There's a 2-story shelter that was built, affectionately named "Rice Creek Hilton". It's a great shady place to stop off for lunch or a snack.

The other main waypoint on this loop is the huge cypress tree, I believe the sign said it's the 8th largest in Florida and while you have to view it from a distance, it's definitely big.

This is one of my favorite hikes that I've done in Florida, it's a good challenge over a relatively short distance and of course hiking along part of the Florida Trail is always a bonus :)

hiking
Sunday, March 19, 2017

Neat long "boardwalk". Lots of animals. Perfect weather.

hiking
2 months ago

3 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

hiking
Friday, April 14, 2017

hiking
Monday, April 10, 2017