Jones Cut provides a meander into the heart of the maritime forest that carpets Big Talbot Island, but it’s not the easiest trail to find. It lets you explore the heart of a dense maritime forest which was once home to the Timucua. The trail follows a broad old forest road through a mature forest with tall red bay trees, southern magnolia, and live oaks.
Location: Big Talbot Island
Length: 1.5 miles
Lat-Long: 30.477632, -81.439550
Fees / Permits: state park entrance fee
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Bug factor: moderate
To get to Big Talbot Island State Park from Jacksonville, follow A1A north past the Mayport Ferry and out to Little Talbot Island. Pass the Little Talbot Island State Park entrance and continue north 2.2 miles to Jones Cut, on the left. Look for a place to pull off. It’s also 0.9 mile south of Blackrock Beach.
To start your hike, step over the cable gate and past a sign prohibiting the digging of artifacts. The trail follows an old jeep road in the shade of live oaks and red bay trees. At the T intersection beneath a large magnolia, turn right and pass a stand of slash pines.
Flanked by saw palmetto, the trail narrows and becomes indistinct as it comes up to Jones Cut, a ditch filled with woods ferns and pickerelweed. It narrows and follows the ditch for a while until it ends after about 0.7 mile. Turn around and follow it back, making sure you make the left turn onto the jeep trail just past the stand of pines. It’s a 1.5-mile shady round-trip.