Sunday, February 14, 2016

Hiking to Boonie Falls by the Econ River

Start of trailOn side of Lockwood Drive (just across from Evans St.) is an entrance to the Florida Trail that is not easily seen from the road.  There is plenty of space to park in the grass between the road and the sidewalk, and occasionally I’ve seen a couple of cars parked there.  Usually though, the only indication that there is a trailhead here is a couple of small signs that are obscured from view by the road.Long bridge over swamp-1

Shortly after entering the trail, there is an old kiosk on the north side of the trail that looks like it hasn’t been used in a very long time, followed by a couple of short boardwalks that span a some muddy spots. Heading further to the east from those boardwalks, the trail soon comes upon a long bridge that spans a marsh.

Water HazardJust beyond this bridge we came to the only “water hazard” on the trail.  It was mostly passable without getting wet, except for the very last step (both ways).  The picture makes it look wetter than it is – going around the edges proved to be the easiest way to get around it.

A little ways beyond the water hazard, the trail splits with the Flagler Trail (which is not well marked) heading to the north east, and the Florida Trail (which is very well blazed) heading more towards the north.  Tina on small bridge

We followed the orange blazes along the Florida Trail, which runs alongside a marshy area which eventually reveals a creek.   There is a small bridge to cross along the way that is less than 100 feet from the falls.

Boonie Falls-2Boonie Falls is a small waterfall that flows around and over cypress roots.  There is a bench next to the falls that identify this as the southernmost water fall along to Florida Trail.  What I really found interesting though was the name… it turns out that Boonie Falls is named for a local hiker – Boonie Man.  There is a link to his website “Out in the Boonies” on the right side of this page; it’s a fantastic resource for all types of trails in central and southern Florida.Bridge to nowhere

A little to the north from the falls, there is another small bridge.  This one leads to the west, away from the main trail.  I’m not sure if this bridge was intended to be a path to the church, or if it was intended for something else.  The trail beyond the bridge just leads to a swamp, and there is a fence that separates the state forest from the church grounds.

Lake view-3The trail heads due east from here, and eventually meets up with the other end of the Flagler Trail that we passed earlier in the hike.  Parts of the trail here almost have the feel of going through a tunnel as the trees and bushes arch over the path.  Eventually though, we came upon a small branch that heads to the southeast, and leads to the shore of a small pond that is fed by the Econ River. Tina by bridge

The trail soon joins up with the river and approaches another small creek that with a bridge crossing.  After crossing this bridge, keep an eye off to the right and you’ll see a huge cypress tree growing at the bottom of what appears to be an old sink hole.

Giant cypress-2The first time that we saw this tree, the ground around it was dry enough that we were able to walk down to the tree, but usually this tree is surrounded by water on all sides.  The base of this tree is at least 8 feet across, and it even has another tree growing out of its trunk.  If you look closely at the photo, you’ll also notice some huge cypress knees nearby.  Most of these are more than 6 feet tall.Moss in the sun

Heading north from here, the Barr St. trailhead soon comes into view which means that we were coming up on our turnaround spot.  After lunch on one of the benches on the river’s edge we were ready to head back.

On the return trip, one of the local inhabitants posed for a couple of pictures… a turkey vulture.  While I think that is one of the ugliest birds around, this one wasn’t shy at all about giving us a couple of profile photos – his good side and his other good side.

If you would like to see the technical detail of this hike, download a gpx file, or see where the photos were taken, just click on the Trip Details link at the bottom of the map below.

Click a photo for full size, or hover for a description.
(more photos in the Gallery)

Unused kioskShort boardwalks-2 Short boardwalks-1Long bridge over swamp-2 Andy on long bridge
Bench by Boonie Falls Boardwalk Air plant
Hobbit home Giant cypress-1Red berries-2 Turkey Vulture-1Turkey Vulture-2

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Hiker said...

This is a GREAT write up!
Accurate and detailed

Hiker said...

This is a GREAT write up!
Accurate and detailed