Covering a vast landscape of pine flatwoods, oak hammock, cypress domes, and strand swamps, St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park protects nearly 22,000 acres of natural habitats.
Broken into four quadrants by a canal and a major highway, each corner of the park features a long loop trail.
At 8.1 miles, the Yellow Trail is the shortest of the four loops and features two primitive campsites within a mile of parking areas off the park’s main access road.
Resources for exploring the area
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Length: 8.1 mile loop
Trailhead: 27.831586, -80.541639
Address: 1000 Buffer Preserve Dr, Fellsmere, FL 32948
Fees: Free. Primitive camping costs $5 per person per night
Restrooms: : Restroom with water at the visitor center. Vault toilet near the trailhead at the manatee lookout.
Land Manager: Florida State Parks
Open 8 AM until sunset daily, unless camping is pre-arranged. Leashed pets welcome.
The trail is multi-use, shared with equestrians and off-road cyclists.
From Interstate 95 at Fellsmere, head west on CR 512 for 3 miles before turning right into the historic community onto N Broadway St. After 0.4 mile, turn left onto S Carolina Ave, then right onto CR 507 in another 0.4 mile. Continue on CR 507 for 3.5 miles, and the park entrance will be on the right side of the road. After passing the visitor center, follow the dirt road for 4.2 miles and the trailhead is located on the left.
Starting at the trailhead, follow yellow blazes northward along a wide, pine-needle strewn pathway.
Walls of saw palmettos flank the trail, separated by patches of wiregrass carpeting a savannah dotted with longleaf pines.
Blueberries and beautyberry bushes sprout from open spaces on the forest floor.
Paw paws sport creamy white flowers that bloom in the spring, followed by small fruits in the early summer. In a half mile, turn right to begin the loop.
Shortly after the turn, a campsite known as Pine Camp sits within a small clearing adjacent to the trail.
Situated under open sky in the pine flatwoods, this primitive site provides benches, a picnic table, and fire ring a short distance from the trailhead.
As the trail heads eastward, a few trailside pines stick out from the rest, with white bands painted around their trunks.
The white paint indicates a pine tree that has been known to harbor a nest of the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.
Trees gradually become sparser while the trail crosses a wide expanse to the eastern edge of the park.
At 1.9 mile, turn left to follow yellow blazes on an alternating sugar sand and grass path.
Within a little over a half mile, a connector trail through a fence links this trail with adjoining Micco WMA off Fleming Grant Rd.
After 3.1 miles, the Yellow Loop reaches a shady oak hammock with a bench.
Tall oaks line the trail for a half mile before entering a wet pine flatwoods habitat.
As the pathway winds through the woods, yellow milkworts begin to contrast the rich green landscape of palmettos and grass.
These curious flowers bloom throughout the year, though they are strikingly dense in in the warmer months.
As the trail turns westward, it enters a unique area where pines and cypress stand alongside one another in a flatwoods-type habitat.
Yellow is even more prevalent here as low pinebarren milkworts carpet the landscape with clusters of vibrant blooms.
Oaks and cabbage palms begin to appear among the pines as the trail heads towards the south end of the loop, reaching Storytelling Camp at 6.5 miles.
A side trail of a few hundred feet leads to a rustic campsite complete with a well pump, picnic tables, fire ring, and a metal shelter underneath an old live oak.
Leaving the campsite, the trail meanders eastward, following a sandy access road for one mile before completing the loop.
A right turn here leads to the trailhead in another half mile.
Learn more about St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Winding through 9.7 miles of panoramic pine savannas, the Green Trail at St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park offers a cozy campsite near its trailhead.
Wildlife abounds within scrub, oak hammock, and pine flatwoods habitats along the 14.9-mile Red Trail loop at St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park.
Immediately west of Interstate 95 at the Sebastian/Fellsmere exit, Fellsmere Trailhead Preserve provides a nature break for travelers and a trailhead for recreation