Near the mouth of the Matanzas River, Faver-Dykes State Park is a popular launch point for paddlers eager to explore the estuaries between the barrier islands and the coast. Nestled in oak hammocks along Pellicer Creek, this peaceful park also has an easy nature trail, the Pine Loop Trail, for landlubbers to trace the route of the creek through old-growth pines. It’s a mecca for birders thanks to more than a hundred migratory species that pass through the marshes.
Location: St. Augustine
Length: 0.5 mile
Lat-Long: 29.669967, -81.258967
Fees / Permits: $4-5 per vehicle
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Bug factor: low to moderate
From I-95 exit 298, drive north on US 1 to the first road on the right, Faver Dykes Rd, located between two gas stations at the interchange. Follow the road for 1.5 miles to the park entrance. From the park entrance, continue along the one-way dirt road to a T intersection; turn right and make a right turn at the fork. The trailhead parking is on the right. Do not block the road leading back to the campsites.
To find the trailhead, walk the road past the campsites to the second “Nature Trail” sign along the treeline near the salt marsh. The Trail is broad and level and carpeted in pine needles. Starting behind the campsites, the short interpretive nature trail leads you along a footpath dense with pine duff through coastal pine flatwoods, where yaupon, low bush blueberry, wax myrtle, and saw palmetto dominate the understory. At 0.3 mile, you reach the loop portion of the trail; follow the loop around a peninsula along the salt marsh. A bench provides a panoramic view of the Pellicer Creek salt marshes, a great spot for birding. Pay close attention to the slash pines along the walk—some of them are massive.