Some years ago, while making a drive up The Loop to Bulow Hammock, we noticed a brand-new kiosk and paved bike path at the edge of the residential area in Ormond Beach.
It took a stop on one trip, and eventually a visit on a stormy afternoon, to explore it to understand its purpose.
While it’s not on the park map nor mentioned in their brochure, the Woodham Woods Trail provides a window into and a connection to Tomoka State Park.
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Location: Ormond Beach
Trailhead: 29.3277, -81.0774
Address: Corner of Beach St & Inglesa Ave, Ormond Beach
Fees: Free unless you enter the park gates, $2 per pedestrian/cyclist if you do
Restroom: inside the park gates at the concession area
Land manager: Florida State Parks
Open 8 AM to sunset. Leashed dogs welcome. Hikers and cyclists share the trail.
From Interstate 95 at SR 40 in Ormond Beach, follow SR 40 east into the old downtown, crossing US 1, and make a left at the light onto N. Beach Street just before the bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway. Follow this canopied road through the residential area along the waterway. When you reach the woods, turn left on the last street, Inglesa Ave, and park on the right shoulder by the kiosk.
There is limited parking at the Ormond Beach end of this trail, and we figure that’s on purpose: the better to encourage local residents to use it to visit their park.
Especially when you consult the kiosk at the trailhead where the words “We Need Volunteers” are featured prominently.
Starting at Inglesa Ave, the trail is essentially a broad sidewalk through the coastal hammock.
Because we had our bicycles with us, we biked it, but it was slow going, as it weaves back and forth between the trees.
While it’s perfect for families with kids, cyclists looking to make time should stick to Beach Street.
As it weaves, you have the opportunity to see the coastal hammock up close, which provides more detail that when you drive through it on paralleling Beach Street.
The forest is dense enough you don’t see the road. Ancient live oak trees make up a portion of the canopy, but other oaks, slash pines, and cabbage palms are in the mix.
The understory is full of growth as well, with patches of wild coffee and some coontie on the forest floor.
At a walking pace, it’s a very meditative place to be, and provides local residents with a place to get their exercise in.
At one bend, it was surprising to find a bench and a bridge, but no water. This is an archaeological feature, the Oswald Indigo Ditch, interpreted by a local Eagle Scout.
It dates back to the late 1700s, when Richard Oswald had a plantation here.
Indigo was one of the major crops grown by his enslaved workers. At that time in history, indigo plants were used to make blue dye for fabrics.
This interpretive stop states that it’s thought this was dug not as a waterway, but to protect the indigo from caterpillars.
Continuing past the ditch, the trail continues its gentle weaving through the hammock.
It ends after a mile when you reach the crosswalk at Beach Street that crosses over to the park’s main entrance gate.
Unless you’re headed into the main part of the park, you can turn around here. Entering through the main gate means paying a fee.
If you decide to cross, pay extra attention, since cars are coming around a curve when approaching the crosswalk from the north and can’t see you.
Despite state law that gives right-of-way to people in crosswalks, we’ve learned that motorists in Florida in general rarely stop for you.
Since we had our state park pass handy and we were on bikes, we continued to ride into the park to add to our exploration.
If you do so, stop at the entrance station just like you would in a car to show your pass or pay the entrance fee.
We turned around at the camp store and concession area, simply because it was a good place to grab an ice cream and use the restrooms.
A round-trip from the trailhead to the concession and back to the car tallied 3.6 miles. A round-trip on just the Woodham Woods Trail up to the crosswalk is 2 miles.
Discover more activities at Tomoka State Park
See our video from biking the Woodham Woods Trail into the park
See our photos of Tomoka State Park
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Stretching 5.2 miles through an primordial forest of sluggish, fern-lined waterways, ancient live oaks, magnolias, and cabbage palms, the Bulow Woods Loop is one of North Florida’s most scenic hikes
Neatly accessed via “The Loop,” a scenic drive that extends north from Ormond Beach, North Peninsula State Park has two tantalizing miles of oceanfront along a palm-rimmed line of dunes.
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