The Turkey Creek Walk is a broad boardwalk showcasing a clear, healthy tannic stream that drains the sandhills of Eglin Air Force Base.
Children are almost always at play at this community gathering place, thanks to platforms that visitors can use to jump into the cool water or a swim.
The boardwalk keeps to the shade of the floodplain forest and bayhead swamp, connecting to a secondary trailhead off College Blvd called Turkey Creek Walk North.
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Length: Up to a 3 mile round-trip
Trailhead: 30.523743, -86.498015
Address: 340 W John Sims Pkwy, Niceville, FL 32578
Restroom: at the trailhead
Land manager: City of Niceville
Opens 6:30 AM daily. Closing hours change seasonally. No pets permitted.
The boardwalk is fully accessible. The city also provides free transportation to the park for seniors and those requiring mobility assistance. Call ahead to schedule a ride.
Tubing is welcome; bring your own flotation device. There are several put-ins and a critical take-out for drifting down the creek.
The canoe launch is closest to the College Blvd entrance, so paddlers should park there and have a way to roll their canoe down the boardwalk.
The primary trailhead is along SR 20 in Niceville just west of SR 85 on the north side of the highway, immediately north of the bridge across Turkey Creek.
Turkey Creek Walk
Starting from the trailhead along SR 20 at the Turkey Creek Pavilion, the Turkey Creek Walk boardwalk parallels Turkey Creek for a mile.
Turkey Creek is a clear tannic stream draining 67 square miles of forests in the sandhills encompassed by Eglin Air Force Base.
With interpretive markers to assist in plant identification, it’s a stroll along a floodplain forest edge of the stream. An interpretive trail guide can be picked up at City Hall before you visit.
Bald cypress, sweetgum, red bay, and Atlantic white cedar tower overhead. The north side of the boardwalk has overlooks and landings to provide direct access to the swiftly flowing creek.
Where the boardwalk crosses the creek, it passes a bayhead swamp. A side trail to the left leads to the “Path of Memories,” a shaded pavilion with memorials.
Stay with the main boardwalk to turn a corner to the canoe launch. It then follows the creek upstream along its opposite bank.
The boardwalk comes to an end within sight of a highway bridge. Turn right, and you’ll find it leads through the floodplain up to another trailhead.
This trailhead is Turkey Creek Walk North. It has a decent amount of parking along with a bike rack, restrooms, and picnic pavilion.
It’s also the starting point for a second trail, which you can link up to from the Turkey Creek Walk simply by walking up towards the park exit.
Natural Walk Path
This natural footpath extends the hike along Turkey Creek farther upstream along a linear greenway that buffers the creek from adjoining housing developments.
Look for the sign pointing upstream under the highway bridge. This portion of the walk is not accessible, and does wash out in spots after a rain.
After going under the bridge, the trail turns right and leads uphill into a bluff forest of pines and magnolias. Palmetto grows in scattered clumps.
Along this lesser-trod trail, you pass a series of numbered benches built as part of a Boy Scout troop project.
The path is well defined as a long straightaway. When we hiked it, it ended after a half mile of walking in the woods at a sign
Retrace your steps from this point. If you parked at SR 20, it’s a 3-mile round-trip hike.
See our photos of the Turkey Creek Nature Trail
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
It’s hard to believe that Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park was once a bombing range! Thank US Air Force Colonel Fred Gannon for the transformation of this upland area hugging the shoreline of Rocky Bayou in Niceville.