The trails - plants and animals
Highland Hammocks State Park has nine trails that are all quite accessible, just off the loop road. They are short, ranging in walking time from 20 to 35 minutes, as stated in the park brochure. The trails are all flat smooth terrain and wide.
Within the park are several natural environments. As you meander the trails you will see many beautiful oak, pine, palm, and hickory trees. And the forest floor is covered by lush underbrush, predominately palmettos. By the way, did you know palm trees nor oranges are natural to Florida?
In my two days in the park I saw an otter, raccoons, alligators, turtles, squirrels, great blue herons, white egrets, hawks, vultures, and many smaller birds. Other, larger mammals are listed as park inhabitants.
The Cypress Swamp Trail is my favorite because it has a boardwalk that takes you over the water. This allows you to walk through the swamp without getting your feet wet. Most of the boardwalk is about 24 inches wide with a ‘handrail on only one side. So if you feel a bit unbalanced or worried about falling into the water, this may not be the trail for you. Small children may have to be carried while on this boardwalk.
On the trail you will be surrounded by beautiful cypress trees with their 'knees' rising out of the water. Be assured you will see large birds, herons and egrets, and posibly a turtle or alligator.
On the Big Tree Trail you will see one of the two 1,000 year old oak trees in the park. It is 36 feet around, measured several feet above the ground. The trunk is quite bumpy and we climbed up a few feet and took some nice pictures. This is certainly the biggest tree trunk I have ever seen in Florida.
Most trails are accessible to the handicapped.
Park Brochure http://www.floridastateparks.org/highlandshammock/docs/HighlandHammocksBrochure.pdf