Hugging the “Forgotten Coast” of the Big Bend, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge encompasses a broad sweep of salt marshes and tidal flats, brackish impoundments, cabbage palm hammocks, and pinelands. The Mounds Pool Interpretive Trail offers an excellent spot for birding along the man-made impoundments, melding a shady walk along one pool to a breezy walk in the sun out along the marshes. The high point is an observation deck over the tidal marsh, where you’re bound to see egrets, herons, and wood storks feeding.
Length: 1.1 miles
Lat-Long: 30.087983, -84.164433
Fees / Permits: NWR entrance fee
Bug factor: Low
Mounds Pool is one of several excellent hikes within St. Marks NWR. To find the trailhead, head south from US 98 at Newport into the refuge on Lighthouse Rd. The trailhead is 6 miles south of the visitor center on the left.
The trail loops around several of the Mounds Pool impoundments, offering a shady walk along the rim of one pool and sunny, breezy walks out along the salt marshes. Climbing a hill past the fire tower, it drops down through coastal pine flatwoods to take you to an observation deck over a tidal marsh. The trail loops back around along the salt marshes.