The East Loop Trail is a 9.5-mile hike paralleling U.S. Highway 1 until it crosses over a set of abandoned railroad tracks. Entering a community of sabal palms, spliced shade is welcome relief. Look for the Florida sandhill crane in this area. Shortly, the trail enters a pine flatwoods dotted with several small ponds. Look closely at the plant life. You're likely to recognize insect-eating carnivorous plants. These ponds support populations of largemouth bass and bream. A Florida freshwater fishing license is required. At about 5 miles into the hike, you'll come to Scrub Jay Primitive Campground, identified by the fire ring. From here, the trail heads south paralleling the railroad tracks then returning to the park entrance.
A moment away is Hobe Mountain, a 124-foot tower offering sights of the forest on the west and sights of the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean on the east. This observation tower is accessed on a short road just beyond the park's entrance lot.
This is a very recreation-rich state park. Several choices exist for overnight stays. Full-service campgrounds, primitive sites, and cabins are available through reservation. Biking trails and horse trails offer miles of exploration. A picnic grove, boat launch, canoe rental, and footbridges are just a few of the amenities.
Directions: From Stuart, FL, Travel 12 miles south along U.S. Highway 1. The trail begins near the park entrance parking lot.
Elevation: 5 feet
Elevation Gain: Minimal
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Florida State Parks, Florida
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