When the original Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve Nature Center occupied the building adjoining the boardwalk, this was the first place we truly saw the beauty of the river’s vast estuary.
To get to that view, you have to walk the trail. But it’s only a quarter mile out to the observation deck, and along it, a succession of coastal habitats keeps your attention focused on the little things.
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Length: 0.6 mile round trip
Trailhead: 29.732009, -84.995673
Address: 261 7th St, Apalachicola FL 32320
Land manager: Apalachicola NERR
Open daily 9 AM to 4 PM. Expect a lot of mosquitoes if there isn’t a breeze.
The trail is accessible with minor assistance. Most of it is a boardwalk, except the hard-packed shell and rock path at the very beginning.
Follow Market Street through Apalachicola to its north end. The entrance to the former Apalachicola NERR nature center is on the left past the marina, and the trail starts across from it
Starting in front of the former nature center, head down the hard-packed shell and rock path pathway into a hardwood forest.
A boardwalk leads across a swale of wetland surrounding the trickle of a freshwater creek where blue flag iris grow thickly along its edges, waving pale blooms in April.
It winds under Virginia willows and past dahoon holly. Royal fern grows in the moist earth below a cluster of cabbage palms.
Cypress and loblolly bay rise from the dampness below, adding heavier lines within a riot of textures in spring green.
Breaking out from the leafy tunnel and into the open, the boardwalk drops the trail onto an overwash plain covered in grapevines, pines, and oaks.
The boardwalk rises in a steady slope between cedars and oaks to reach its destination, the edge of a vast sweep of estuary at the northwest end of Apalachicola Bay.
Scipio Creek is the nearby open water flowing through the maze of marsh grasses. Beyond the line of cypresses is the main channel of the Apalachicola River.
From noon until evening, the grasses across the estuary gleam golden as sunlight plays across them.
See our photos of the Scipio Creek Boardwalk
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Orman House Historic State Park
Sitting on a high bluff above the Apalachicola River, the Orman House was built by early Apalachicola settler and shipping magnate Thomas Orman in 1838. It is now preserved as Orman House Historic State Park.
Chapman Botanical Garden
Chapman Botanical Garden honors the memory of Dr. Alvan Wentworth Chapman, a noted botanist who in 1860 published Flora of the United States. Adjoins the Orman House
John Gorrie Museum State Park
One of only two Floridians honored in the halls of Congress for their achievements, Dr. John Gorrie is the acknowledged inventor of air conditioning, patented in 1851.
Cat Point Trail
Just a short walk from the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve Visitor Center, this half-mile loop meanders coastal habitats in Eastpoint