Conserving a vast swath of wetland habitats in low-lying areas along the Perdido River floodplain, Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park is home to four species of Sarracenia – pitcher plants – unique to the Gulf Coast.
Resources for exploring the area
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Address: 2401 Bauer Rd, Pensacola
Fees: $3 per vehicle
Restroom: At the trailhead
Land Manager: Florida State Parks
Open 8 AM until sunset daily.
Leashed pets welcome, but for the sake of other visitors please don’t take them on the boardwalk.
From downtown Pensacola, follow US 90 west to the last turnoff before the bridge into Alabama, Bauer Rd. Drive south and watch for the trailhead on the right.
About the Park
From the small parking area, a paved barrier-free trail winds through dense pine flatwoods. A delicate lacy trumpet beckons just beyond the boardwalk’s edge.
The network of thin veins of white help you in identifying a white-topped pitcher plant, Sarracenia leucophylla.
Unique to the Gulf Coast, this tall carnivorous plant is one of four rare pitcher plant species that thrive in these swampy prairies between the pines near the Alabama border.
Starting in 1998, The Nature Conservancy assisted the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) with the purchase of this critical wetland along Tarkiln Bayou, known as the Perdido Pitcher Plant Prairie.
Adjoining wetlands had already been bulldozed for housing. Acquisitions since now protect over 4,000 acres along the Perdido River floodplain.
The park is a passive preserve for botanical study, with a 7-mile loop of forest roads through the prairie and a wheelchair-accessible path.
It leads to the Emma Claire Boardwalk of Hope, which crosses a spectacular pitcher plant bog on its way to an overlook over the bayou. Another nature trail loop explores pine flatwoods on the east side of Bauer Rd.
Camping is available fifteen minutes away at nearby Big Lagoon State Park.
Learn more about the trails at Tarkiln Bayou State Park.
Tarkiln Bayou Trail
Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park offers several trails – including an accessible boardwalk – leading to pitcher plant bogs along a bayou on the Alabama border, west of Pensacola.
See our photos of Tarkiln Bayou State Park.
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Big Lagoon State Park
At Big Lagoon State Park, enjoy exploring the sweep of coastal forest and wetlands along one of Florida’s largest lagoons
Perdido Key Discovery Trail
Showcasing the habitat diversity of Perdido Key at Johnson Beach, the accessible Perdido Key Discovery Trail is a gentle boardwalk over wetlands, forests, and dunes
Perdido Key State Park
With sand as white as fresh fallen snow, Perdido Key State Park offers Florida’s westernmost public beach
Gulf State Park
Stretching west from the tip of Perdido Key, Gulf State Park encompasses more than 6,000 acres of natural habitats on barrier islands between Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Alabama.