Amid these large landscapes, you’ll feel like a small part of the environmental puzzle along the mangrove-lined coast of Charlotte Harbor.
Location: Port Charlotte
Length: 1.9 mile loop
Lat-Lon: 26.994981, -82.183023
Address: 2400 El Jobean Rd, Port Charlotte
Restroom: at adjoining sports complex, if open
Land manager: Charlotte County Parks & Recreation
Open dawn to dusk. Dogs are not permitted. This is a coastal hike, so insect repellent is a must.
A longer hike is possible depending on the sequence of trails you take through the preserve. We took a perimeter route through the middle of the preserve to hit the best views.
From I-75 exit 179, North Port, drive south on Toledo Blade Blvd for 6.5 miles. At SR 776, turn right. Continue 1.4 miles to the entrance to the Charlotte Sports Park on the left.
Turn left and drive around the perimeter of the Charlotte Sports Park to find the entrance to Tippecanoe Environmental Park beneath an archway behind the sports park complex.
Our exploration of the park started from the main entrance behind Charlotte Sports Park, with a counterclockwise walk through most of the major habitats – scrub, pine flatwoods, mangrove marshes, floodplain forest, and scrubby flatwoods – found in this preserve. Most of the trails are forest roads with signage at trail intersections.
While most of the trails are along established two-track roads, it’s easy walking. A don’t miss side trip is the climb to the observation deck atop Mount Tippecanoe.
From the top, you can see the extensive mangrove marshes along Tippecanoe Bay where the Myakka River flows into Charlotte Harbor.
Birding is fabulous along the series of boardwalks at the southwestern edge of the loop. Walk slowly along the edges of the wetland areas for the best birding. Glossy ibis pick through the mud flats and osprey cry out overhead.
One thing we noted on the park map we picked up at the kiosk: the spot marked with a restroom symbol is actually a bat house.
Our images from hiking through Tippecanoe Environmental Park