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Tree frog at Rice Creek Conservation Area, Palatka, Florida

 

Rice Creek Conservation Area

Putnam County

Palatka, Florida

Entry Fee: None

Official Website

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This is one of my favorite hikes, an easy five-mile loop with plenty to see in deep woods and across fields covering 4200 acres in Putnam County near near Palatka and Interlachen.

 

After parking in the wide parking area, a dirt road continues beyond a simple gate and soon splits. You can continue straight ahead on the no vehicle access road for horseback riding and biking, or veer northwest for a great trail hike. The hiking trail takes you across an open prairie and into the dense woods about half a mile away. Here you will follow a segment of the Florida Trail that takes you through canopy forest, marshlands and a creek that flows year around, with well-maintained bridges throughout, and even an observation platform. I hiked the woods for a five mile loop where the last mile brings you back to the dirt road for horses or biking. The trail never strays far from either the highway or cleared areas and with plenty of markers, you'll never get lost.

 

Yet you get a pretty good feeling of being deep in the sub-tropical forest with lots of bird watching opportunities and animals, camping areas, creeks and marshlands, and a true nature feel rather than seeming like a park. The flora and fauna are each very diverse with a variety of flowers in spring, great swamp and marsh areas in summer, and dense woods opening into large fields year around.

 

That "back to nature" feel comes with the downside of lots of mosquitoes and ticks. Banana spiders - big ones - build webs throughout the trail in summer, so carry a stick to clear the way!

 

Rice Creek Conservation Area Trail Map - PDF map of hiking trail

Interactive Map of Trail at AllTrails

 

Find below pictures and a Google Map.

 

Rice Creek Conservation Area entrance in Palatka

Watch for the sign to Rice Creek Conservation area along Florida Highway 100

 

Prairie at Rice Creek Conservation Area Hike

Your hike begins with a beautiful, open prairie before entering the forest (summer)

 

Florida Prairie at Rice Creek Conservation Area

Prairie view at Rice Creek Conservation Area in the spring

 

Rice Creek, Palatka hiking

Forest ahead!

 

Bridge over Rice Creek

Bridges and planks over Rice Creek and swampy areas keep you dry with volunteer assistance from FloridaTrails.org

 

Rice Creek in Putnam County

The trail parallels Rice Creek for over a mile in the woods at Rice Creek Conservation Area

 

Wild azalea - pinxter azalea, Rhododendrum canescens

Wild azalea - pinxter azalea, Rhododendrum canescens - blooms in March with 5 white petals and elongated, pink pistils

 

Banana Spider - Florida

The bane of Florida hikers - the Banana Spider! You'll find plenty of these in summer strung across the trails.

 

Fuzzy tan mushroom on stump - Lentinus crinitus - Fringed Sawgill Mushroom

Fuzzy tan mushroom on stump - Lentinus crinitus - Fringed Sawgill Mushroom

 

Southern Blue Flag Iris, Swamp Iris, Virginia Iris - Iris Virginica

Southern Blue Flag Iris, Swamp Iris, Virginia Iris - Iris Virginica - is beautiful but poisonous growing near swamps and in marshes, here blooming in late March

 

 

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Copyright 2016-2017 Bryan Lindenberger
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Bryan Lindenberger
Tree frog at Rice Creek Conservation Area, Palatka, Florida

Rice Creek Conservation Area entrance in Palatka

Prairie at Rice Creek Conservation Area Hike

Florida Prairie at Rice Creek Conservation Area

Rice Creek, Palatka hiking

Bridge over Rice Creek

Rice Creek in Putnam County

Wild azalea - pinxter azalea, Rhododendrum canescens

Banana Spider - Florida

Fuzzy tan mushroom on stump - Lentinus crinitus - Fringed Sawgill Mushroom

Southern Blue Flag Iris, Swamp Iris, Virginia Iris - Iris Virginica

Live Florida Beauty - Outdoor Sites and Images

Bryan Lindenberger
Tree frog at Rice Creek Conservation Area, Palatka, Florida

Rice Creek Conservation Area entrance in Palatka

Prairie at Rice Creek Conservation Area Hike

Florida Prairie at Rice Creek Conservation Area

Rice Creek, Palatka hiking

Bridge over Rice Creek

Rice Creek in Putnam County

Wild azalea - pinxter azalea, Rhododendrum canescens

Banana Spider - Florida

Fuzzy tan mushroom on stump - Lentinus crinitus - Fringed Sawgill Mushroom

Southern Blue Flag Iris, Swamp Iris, Virginia Iris - Iris Virginica

Live Florida Beauty - Outdoor Sites and Images

Bryan Lindenberger
Tree frog at Rice Creek Conservation Area, Palatka, Florida

Rice Creek Conservation Area entrance in Palatka

Prairie at Rice Creek Conservation Area Hike

Florida Prairie at Rice Creek Conservation Area

Rice Creek, Palatka hiking

Bridge over Rice Creek

Rice Creek in Putnam County

Wild azalea - pinxter azalea, Rhododendrum canescens

Banana Spider - Florida

Fuzzy tan mushroom on stump - Lentinus crinitus - Fringed Sawgill Mushroom

Southern Blue Flag Iris, Swamp Iris, Virginia Iris - Iris Virginica

Live Florida Beauty - Outdoor Sites and Images

Bryan Lindenberger
Tree frog at Rice Creek Conservation Area, Palatka, Florida

Rice Creek Conservation Area entrance in Palatka

Prairie at Rice Creek Conservation Area Hike

Florida Prairie at Rice Creek Conservation Area

Rice Creek, Palatka hiking

Bridge over Rice Creek

Rice Creek in Putnam County

Wild azalea - pinxter azalea, Rhododendrum canescens

Banana Spider - Florida

Fuzzy tan mushroom on stump - Lentinus crinitus - Fringed Sawgill Mushroom

Southern Blue Flag Iris, Swamp Iris, Virginia Iris - Iris Virginica

Bryan Lindenberger
Tree frog at Rice Creek Conservation Area, Palatka, Florida

Rice Creek Conservation Area entrance in Palatka

Prairie at Rice Creek Conservation Area Hike

Florida Prairie at Rice Creek Conservation Area

Rice Creek, Palatka hiking

Bridge over Rice Creek

Rice Creek in Putnam County

Wild azalea - pinxter azalea, Rhododendrum canescens

Banana Spider - Florida

Fuzzy tan mushroom on stump - Lentinus crinitus - Fringed Sawgill Mushroom

Southern Blue Flag Iris, Swamp Iris, Virginia Iris - Iris Virginica

Live Florida Beauty - Outdoor Sites and Images

Bryan Lindenberger
Tree frog at Rice Creek Conservation Area, Palatka, Florida

Rice Creek Conservation Area entrance in Palatka

Prairie at Rice Creek Conservation Area Hike

Florida Prairie at Rice Creek Conservation Area

Rice Creek, Palatka hiking

Bridge over Rice Creek

Rice Creek in Putnam County

Wild azalea - pinxter azalea, Rhododendrum canescens

Banana Spider - Florida

Fuzzy tan mushroom on stump - Lentinus crinitus - Fringed Sawgill Mushroom

Southern Blue Flag Iris, Swamp Iris, Virginia Iris - Iris Virginica

Bryan Lindenberger
Tree frog at Rice Creek Conservation Area, Palatka, Florida
Bryan Lindenberger
Tree frog at Rice Creek Conservation Area, Palatka, Florida

Rice Creek Conservation Area entrance in Palatka

Prairie at Rice Creek Conservation Area Hike

Florida Prairie at Rice Creek Conservation Area

Rice Creek, Palatka hiking

Bridge over Rice Creek

Rice Creek in Putnam County

Wild azalea - pinxter azalea, Rhododendrum canescens

Banana Spider - Florida

Fuzzy tan mushroom on stump - Lentinus crinitus - Fringed Sawgill Mushroom

Southern Blue Flag Iris, Swamp Iris, Virginia Iris - Iris Virginica

Bryan Lindenberger
Tree frog at Rice Creek Conservation Area, Palatka, Florida

Rice Creek Conservation Area entrance in Palatka

Prairie at Rice Creek Conservation Area Hike

Florida Prairie at Rice Creek Conservation Area

Rice Creek, Palatka hiking

Bridge over Rice Creek

Rice Creek in Putnam County

Wild azalea - pinxter azalea, Rhododendrum canescens

Banana Spider - Florida

Fuzzy tan mushroom on stump - Lentinus crinitus - Fringed Sawgill Mushroom

Southern Blue Flag Iris, Swamp Iris, Virginia Iris - Iris Virginica

Bryan Lindenberger
Tree frog at Rice Creek Conservation Area, Palatka, Florida

Rice Creek Conservation Area entrance in Palatka

Prairie at Rice Creek Conservation Area Hike

Florida Prairie at Rice Creek Conservation Area

Rice Creek, Palatka hiking

Bridge over Rice Creek

Rice Creek in Putnam County

Wild azalea - pinxter azalea, Rhododendrum canescens

Banana Spider - Florida

Fuzzy tan mushroom on stump - Lentinus crinitus - Fringed Sawgill Mushroom

Southern Blue Flag Iris, Swamp Iris, Virginia Iris - Iris Virginica

Live Florida Beauty - Outdoor Sites and Images