2/27/2019: Park gates are padlocked and no information about length of closure available yet.
A short but deeply-shaded and scenic walk, the nature trail at Sarah Maude Mason Nature Preserve in Howey-in-the-Hills spends most of its time on a boardwalk over a floodplain forest along Little Lake Harris. Bring your binoculars for the excellent birding along the lake!
Length: 0.6 mile
Lat-Long: 28.701150, -81.764067
Fees / Permits: None
Bug factor: moderate
Open dawn to dusk, with interpretive information available at the kiosk. There is an additional entrance from Griffin Stormwater Park with a connecting paved trail to downtown Howey-in-the-Hills.
From SR 19 in Howey-in-the-Hills, drive 0.9 mile on Rebel’s Road. Turn right at Buckhill Road at the “Nature Preserve” sign; follow the red clay road 0.2 mile to the trailhead parking area on the left.
As you walk beneath the shady canopy of trees, ferns grow in profusion beneath the sweetgum, maples, and cypresses. Looping back into a thick hardwood hammock, the boardwalk ends and the trail forks, with the right fork headed to a walking trail along Lakeshore Blvd, and the left fork following a forest road through the woods back to the main trailhead. It’s a charming short walk through a floodplain forest without getting your feet wet.