Winding through a tropical hammock and along open marshy areas, the interpretive Custard Apple Trail provides a taste of the wilderness that the first modern settlers (circa 1883) found when they came to Lake Worth. Believe it or not, this was Palm Beach County’s very first nature trail in a county park; the park itself dates back to the 1940s. The trail’s namesake, the custard apple – also known as pond apple – thrived in the marshy wetlands where the Everglades once flowed towards the Atlantic Ocean. Several tall old custard apple trees serve as a testament to those days.
Location: Lake Worth
Length: 0.5 mile
Lat-Long: 26.602017, -80.082883
Fees / Permits: free
Bug factor: moderate
Restroom: at the secondary trailhead near the campground entrance.
Open sunrise-sunset. John Prince Park is more than 1,000 acres in size, and has many miles of paved and bark chip walking trails. However, this is its only trail in a natural habitat.
The northern entrance of park is on Lake Worth Road, 0.5 mile E of Congress; the Southern entrances are off of Congress north of Lantana Road at Prince Drive and 6th Avenue. From all entrances, head south on the main park roadm following the signs towards the campground. The trailhead parking is on the left, and the trail is on the right 0.7 mile south of the Prince Drive entrance, soon after a sharp left turn; watch for the trailhead sign.
A mile of trails wind through the tropical hammock, enabling you to make loops of half a mile or a quarter mile. The trail system includes five short named trails (Coot, Custard Apple, Cypress, Dahoon, Heron) as well as multiple unnamed beaten paths through the hammocks. Use Dahoon, Cypress, Custard Apple, and Heron to create a loop, or simply explore. Watch for wading birds off the unmarked trails leading from the Cypress Trail to the marsh, and butterflies on the wildflowers in the open areas.