Catch a sweeping view from an observation tower atop the highest natural hill south of Lake Okeechobee, a vantage point that lets you survey a broad swath of landscape from the Atlantic Ocean to the wet flatwoods that march off to the west of the Loxahatchee River. This short boardwalk trail is one of the biggest treats at Jonathan Dickinson State Park, as it’s easily accessible and fun to show off to friends and family—trek to the top of a Florida “mountain”!
Location: Hobe Sound
Length: 0.4 miles
Fees / Permits: state park entrance fee, camping fee
Bug factor: low
Restroom: available in the park but not along the trail
You must check in with park rangers before backpacking to ensure that there is space remaining at the backcountry campsite. There is an extra fee for camping. Take plenty of water, as water is scarce along the loop. There is a pitcher pump at the campsite but it doesn’t always work.
For more information: Jonathan Dickinson State Park
Take Florida’s Turnpike exit 116 or I-95 exit 87A, SR 706 (Indiantown Rd), Jupiter. Drive east 5 miles to US 1. Turn left and continue north 5.1 miles to the park entrance on the left. Pay your admission fee. Turn left onto the main park road. When you encounter the Hobe Mountain Tower road on the right, follow it up to a small parking area.
A 0.4-mile boardwalk trail over the relict dunes clambers up Hobe Mountain, which at 86 feet is highest natural hill in South Florida south of Lake Okeechobee. Take ten minutes to scramble up through the sand pine scrub and survey the 360 degree view from the tower. To the west lies the forested watershed of the Loxahatchee River, encompassing nearly 200 square miles. Notice the ribbon of differently-colored trees in the distance—cypresses tracing the banks of the river, standing out against a sea of slash pines. To the south, you can see towering condos along the beach in Jupiter and Juno Beach. To the east, that aquamarine ribbon of water is the Intracoastal Waterway, and the deep blue Atlantic Ocean stretches to the horizon just beyond the sliver of sand that makes up Jupiter Island.