Located just north of Jennings State Forest, the Sal Taylor Property was purchased from the Trust of Public Land (TPL) by the city of Jacksonville in 2001.
Previously named the Nathan Hale Property, the preserve was renamed after the Sal Taylor Creek branch which joins Black Creek, eventually flowing into the St. Johns River.
Sal Taylor Creek Preserve is one of the many parks and preserves operated by the City of Jacksonville, which boasts one of the largest urban park systems in the country.
In addition to numerous hiking trails, this preserve has 4 miles of equestrian trails, an exercise trail, a picnic area, benches, and even a horseshoe pit.
Visitors enjoy wildlife and wildflower viewing along the well-maintained trail system.
Resources for exploring the area
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Length: 4.1-mile round trip
Trailhead: 30.212557, -81.915281
Address: 5873 Nathan Hale Road
Restroom: Flush toilets at trailhead
Land Manager: City of Jacksonville
Open daily from sunrise to sunset. Hikers share the trail with horses and bicycles. The trail is well-maintained and well-marked. Bring water, bug spray, and sunscreen.
From Jacksonville, head west on Interstate 10. After 8.6 miles, take exit 351 toward Chaffee Rd/Whitehouse. Go south on Chaffee Rd for 2.9 miles. Turn right onto Normandy Blvd and head southwest for another 4.9 miles. Turn left onto Nathan Hale Rd and go south for another 1.4 miles. Sal Taylor Creek Preserve is on your left with a large parking area and pavilion.
At the parking lot, enter the trail by walking through the gate. Head east on the Main Trail, which appears to be marked by blue blazes on the trees.
This is not the case, however, as blue blazes can be found on all of the trails, both Main Trails and spur trails.
Keep your eyes open for brown posts that will let you know you are on the Main Trail and not one of the spurs.
The beginning of the trail is wide and shaded, lined on both sides by longleaf pine forest.
At 0.4 miles take a right at the Main Trail sign. This sign is a little confusing, as it indicates the Main Trail goes straight, as well.
Notice the sign says “Main Trail S.T.” indicating the Sal Taylor Main Trail. The other part of the sign says “Main Trail E.C.”
That trail leads to an equestrian loop and connections to the Cecil Field Conservation Corridor.
After you turn right, continue on the flat, easy path, taking a left at the next Main Trail sign.
Soon, you will come to a sign about prescribed burns along with another Main Trail post. Take a left here.
Continue on this path until you reach an intersection of the Cecil Field Greenway.
Take a right and hike on the Greenway/Main Trail for 0.2 miles, reaching another sign about fires. Take a right.
After 1.3 miles, reach a trail intersection with a spur trail and a bench. Stay straight on your path.
At 1.5 miles, reach a long white fence and private property. Take a left here. At 1.6 miles, take a right, and at 1.74 miles reach a T intersection at a fenced-in neighborhood.
There’s no sign here, but you’ll go left, as there are no other turns to take.
At 1.9 miles, and the end of the fence line, take a left. The trail become more narrow and wet.
After 2 miles, the Main Trail ends at a bench near Sal Taylor Creek.
Enjoy a break at the creek, taking in the beauty of its tannin-stained waters.
Retrace your route back the same way to the parking lot for a total hike of 4.1 miles.
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
With elevation changes, streams, and cascades, the Pioneer Trail at Jennings State Forest is as close as you can get to the Appalachian Trail experience without leaving the Florida peninsula.
Following a historic railroad route that sparked the Battle of Olustee during the Civil War, the Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail spans 14.6 miles from Jacksonville to Baldwin
In the vast mosaic of pines and cypress swamp west of Jacksonville protected by Cary State Forest, the 1.4 mile Cary Nature Trail makes a great family outing