Monday, December 28, 2015

Hiking the Econ State Forest from Barr St.

Trail entranceThe Barr Street trailhead is just off Geneva Road (CR 426), and has a pretty good sized parking area.  On the weekends it’s not unusual to see several cars parked here, so it is easy to find.  This trail is still one of my favorites.  It goes through the woods (not on forest roads), along the river, and over bridges.  Every step along the way leads to some really nice views and several other points of interest.Bark ecosystem-1

Heading south into the forest, the first landmark is an old oak tree that hangs over the trail that you will have to duck under to pass, and shortly after that is the first of thirteen bridges that are found on this hike.  (One of the bridges is closed and has been replaced with a new one.  It may be removed soon).

River view-1Shortly after crossing the first bridge the trail leads to an open area with the first view of the Econolockhatchee River.  The water levels on the river were pretty low today, so there are several spots where one can leave the main trail to walk along the river’s edge.  When the water levels are higher, the river views are just as nice from the trail.Start of White Loop

After crossing the second bridge, we came to the intersection for the white loop, which leads through the northern section of the forest away from the river. 

Acorns under fuzzy fungusKeep your eyes open on this part of the trail and you may see some unusual flora.  We saw this mushroom on the side of the trail growing over two acorns.  I think what we found is not so much a “fuzzy white mushroom” as it is a mushroom with another type of fungus growing on top of it.  Either way, it is interesting to see.Watch your head

Towards the end of the white loop, the trail runs under a smaller oak tree that hangs over the trail, and then lets out to an area with a couple of covered benches.  Heading due south of these bridges will bring you to the Flagler Trail pedestrian bridge.  This is a nice spot to stop for lunch and watch the river flow by.

Low water levelsA couple of years ago, we hiked this trail when the water levels were very high (the river was all the way up to the bottom of the pedestrian bridge).  Today though, the water levels are very low giving the river an entirely different look than normal.  Here you can see the sand bars and where the deeper water is flowing.Tandem kayak

The water levels may be low, but they are still deep enough to be passed on canoes and kayaks.  There were several people out enjoying the the day paddling downstream.

This is still one of my favorite trails in the area.  On some trips we’ve seen a lot of wildlife (usually when there are few people around), but on all trips we know we’ll see some beautiful views.  If you would like to see the technical details of this hike, or download a gpx file to use as a guide, click on the “Trip details” link below the map at the end of this post.

Bridges along the trail
(Full Photo Gallery)

Bridge-1 Bridge-2Old stump Bridge-3
Bridge-4 Bridge-5 Bridge-6
Bridge-7 Bridge-8 Bridge-9
Bridge-10 Bridge-11 Closed-3 Bridge-12 New-2
Bridge-13 Covered benches-2 Mushroom colony-6

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