Once a thriving settlement along the St. Lucie River, the community of Spruce Bluff vanished long before this 97-acre patch of green was hemmed in by subdivisions. The interpretive trails at Spruce Bluff Natural Area lead you back in time not just to the 1890s settlement site, but to the largest mound known to left behind by the long-forgotten Ais, a 20-foot-tall, 180-foot diameter structure on an island in the marshes.
Location: Port St. Lucie
Length: 2 miles
Type: two round-trips
Fees / Permits: Free
Bug factor: moderate to high
Open dawn to dusk. Parking is limited. Do not block the road or gates.
From Florida’s Turnpike, drive 1.5 miles east on Port St. Lucie Blvd to Floresta Dr. Turn right on Floresta and drive south 0.7 mile to Southbend. Turn left on Southbend, then make a left on Peru Street. After 0.5 mile, turn left on Dar Lane, and left into the entrance for the preserve. Park your car in front of the kiosk on the left.
To the south, the Ais Trail leads through sand pine scrub and scrubby flatwoods to unexpected vistas along a series of boardwalks across vast freshwater marshes busy with wading birds. The trail loops the tree-topped midden , a significant archaeological site, before returning back to the marshes.
From the trailhead, the Pioneer Trail heads north along an abandoned entryway to a thwarted development through scrubby flatwoods and scrub, terminating in a loop around a pioneer-era cemetery circa 1891.