The Rice Creek Conservation Area is a 5,061-acre property in Palatka, Florida. The area is home to ancient cypress trees, and it was once a rice plantation in the 1700s. There's so much to see and do in the Rice Creek Conservation Area, including hiking the five-mile Rice Creek Trail. This loop trail is part of the greater Florida Trail, and if your dog is on a leash, they can join you for your adventure.
The Rice Creek Trail isn't for the faint of heart: along the way, you'll likely see alligators, snakes, spiders, and more mosquitoes than you can count! But, if you're armed with bug spray keep a close eye out for other creatures, you can definitely conquer this hike.
During your hike, you'll not only encounter a variety of wildlife, but you'll also get to see several different landscapes and plant species. You'll go through swamps, marshlands, dense sub-tropical forests, and woods that open up to bright green fields. Along the way, you'll also cross 28 interesting bridges where the rice fields once were. Conveniently, the trail is well-marked so you'll never get lost. As isolated as the Rice Creek Trail may feel, you'll also never be far from major roads on either side of the trail.
If you visit in the rainy season, expect to get wet! Some hikers recommend wearing rain boots for crossing areas where the path is entirely under water. Volunteers work hard to build bridges and place planks over swampy areas, but you may still get wet. These areas are especially prone to alligator sightings as well.
When it's time to take a break during your hike, you'll be pleased to know there is a screened-in shelter along the way where you can get a break from the bugs and the heat.Be sure to pack lots of water for you and your pet when you hike the Rice Creek Trail, and a supply of doggie bags is a good idea, too!