ZZ83. Chipola River Greenway: Hinson Conservation and Recreation Area (NEW)
Nearest City: Marianna
Phone Number: (850) 482-2786
Features/Amenities: Birding by boat, Birding by foot/hiking, Best time of day: Both morning and evening, Recommended length of visit: a few hours, Horseback riding br>
Habitats: Freshwater Marsh/Wetlands, Field/Pasture, Pines, River/Stream/Spring/Canal, Hardwoods/Mixed Forest
Jackson County is building a reputation as a great wildlife viewing destination, and this new GFBWT site on the Chipola River is a prime reason why you should put the western Panhandle region on your to-do list. This 226-acre portion of the greenway south of Marianna has more than 5 miles of foot trails through upland mixed and floodplain forest, pines, open fields, karst (cave) areas and wetlands, plus a non-motorized boat launch with access to the picturesque, 51-mile Chipola River Paddling Trail. The outer perimeter trail (made up of four loops) is part of the Florida National Scenic Trail; connector trails in the interior can shorten your hike if needed. There are numerous opportunities to stop, wander and listen at pull-offs (including some magnificent, old pecan groves) along the unpaved, winding entrance road. At the parking area at the end of Gator Hole Rd., you can walk along the river either on the East or South loop trails, or launch your canoe. The river is a good spot to look for Winter Wren during the chilly months of the year; check along the banks for the tiny, flighty brown bird with the loud, ringing voice. Also listen carefully for the songs of Acadian Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Kentucky and Swainson’s Warblers in spring/summer. Other birds found at this site are Northern Bobwhite, Eastern Wild Turkey, Broad-winged Hawk, Barred Owl, Pileated Woodpecker, Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Eastern Towhee. Reptiles you may encounter include Green Anole, Little Brown Skink and Gulf Coast Box Turtle. Early morning and late afternoon are good times to see Red Fox and White-tailed Deer here. Note: the use of recordings to attract birds is prohibited at this location.
Directions: From I-10 southeast of Marianna, take exit 142 for SR 71 and go north for 1.8 mi. Turn left (northwest) onto US 90/SR 71/SR 10/Lafayette St. and drive 3.1 mi. to downtown Marianna. Turn left (south) on SR 73/Jefferson St. and go 1.1 mi. Turn left (east) on Gator Hole Ln. and follow it eastward for 1.2 mi. to the parking area at the end.
Open all year, sunrise to sunset.
Location: 30.758120° N, -85.229440° W