I was in search of the new interpretive trail at Fisheating Creek last Monday when time overtook me the first try, and dusk overtook me the second try. However, I managed to get some clarifications from folks who’ve been there and seen it.
The interpretive trail starts from at the new FWC office along SR 78 in Lakeport, in that section where the Florida Trail has to follow the road for three miles. Turn off on Banana Grove Road into the Fisheating Creek Wildlife Management Area and follow the road to the office. The trail is at Fort Center, a significant archeological site. According to Liz Sparks, Recreation Planner for FWC:
The new trailhead has covered picnic pavilions, vault toilets, and an observation deck overlooking the creek. The best way to enjoy the trail is to bring off-road bikes and use them for the mile-long access road which meets the 1.2 mile loop trail at the edge of the hardwood hammock and loops through the woods in deep shade. We have new interpretive kiosk/rest benches along the way that inform visitors about the fascinating history of the creek. There are interpretive spots near the charnal pond and a mound, the birding is excellent over the marsh and along the open areas either side of the access road. I’ve frequently seen crested caracaras on the fence posts.
It is also possible, according to the folks at Fisheating Creek Campground, to hike 20 miles along Fisheating Creek on what they described as “high water” and “low water” routes between the campground and this new trailhead. I’d love to know more about that if you do!