Atop the Atlantic Coastal Ridge, this relict piece of sand pine scrub reflects the past. Bright white sands once tumbled down the entirety of the ridge in this region, which has otherwise become an urban mass.
Here, you can step back into nature. While sand pine scrub remains common in many parts of Florida, it’s mostly vanished in this corner of the state due to development. In fact, less than 2% of Broward County’s original sand pine scrub remains.
This Broward County Natural Area was acquired in 1989 as part of the Environmentally Sensitive Lands program.
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Location: Pompano Beach
Length: 0.4 mile loop
Trailhead: 26.271200, -80.119697
Address: 3299 NE Third Ave, Pompano Beach
Restroom: at the visitor center
Land manager: Broward County
Open 8 AM to 6 PM. No pets, bicycles, or skateboards permitted. Strollers welcome.
Pathways are fully paved and wheelchair accessible. Benches provided for rest stops. While there is no restroom, there is a water fountain near the trailhead kiosk.
From Interstate 95 exit 39 in Pompano Beach, drive east on Sample Rd to the first traffic light. Turn south on NE Third Avenue. Continue a quarter mile, passing Crystal Lake Middle School, to the trailhead entrance on the right, immediately across from the school parking lot exit. The trailhead is less than a mile north of Copans Rd, if you are approaching from the south.
Start your hike at the prominent shelter at the trailhead. Two interlocked trails make up the ramble through this 24 acre preserve, and this first one is the Gray Fox Trail.
While you might see a fox here – since habitat for this native creature is scarce – you are more likely to see a gopher tortoise digging a burrow in the soft white sand.
Beach-like sand is a characteristic of sand pine scrub, as are scrubby-looking oaks of several types, including sand live oak, myrtle oak, and Chapman’s oak.
The Gray Fox Trail passes under a power line to meet the Sand Pine Trail at a bench. Continue straight ahead at the junction onto the natural footpath.
Enter a forest of taller sand pines. A seating area provides a place to stop and admire them. The trail loops back around to meet the paved Gray Fox Trail.
Continue straight ahead, passing under the power line again. The paved trail winds through the scrub forest, where the understory is very dense in spots.
Passing a bench, the trail exits back to the parking area after 0.4 mile.
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
In just 13 acres, Helene Klein Pineland Preserve packs in a nice walk through a variety of habitats within an urban forest along busy Hillsboro Blvd
While butterflies are the main attraction at this complex of natural wonders inside Tradewinds Park, a series of gardens also put on quite a show
A bounty of ferns awaits at Fern Forest Nature Center, where more than two miles of trails introduce you to a slice of Florida’s past, a tropical forest surrounding the original floodplain of Cypress Creek