Platt Branch Wildlife and Environmental Area

676 Detjens Dairy Rd., Venus, 33960
(863) 465-6722
sunrise to sunset

trail

You will be rewarded by the scenery and solitude at this beautiful property. Platt Branch lies east of the Fisheating Creek floodplain at the southern end of the Lake Wales Ridge. Management of the longleaf pine, cutthroat grass, slash pine and scrub habitats is specifically tailored to benefit endangered species such as the Florida Scrub-Jay, Red-cockaded Woodpecker and Gopher Tortoise. Walk the 3.5-mile loop trail which passes through oak scrub, pine flatwoods, seasonal wetlands and cutthroat grass seeps in the central portion of the area. You may also hike on the unpaved service roads to reach the floodplain of Fisheating Creek (good for migratory songbirds like Louisiana Waterthrush) and stands of mature pines with Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. Two observation platforms overlook freshwater wetlands with Mottled Duck, Wood Stork, Wilson’s Snipe, and sometimes a Roseate Spoonbill or two. Crested Caracara, Sandhill Crane, Purple Gallinule, Whip-poor-will (winter), Brown-headed Nuthatch and Bachman’s Sparrow are just some of the other species found here. Watch for resident species such as Common Ground-Dove, Loggerhead Shrike, and Eastern Meadowlark in the fields; Northern Harrier and Grasshopper Sparrows can be found in winter. There are few amenities here, so bring your lunch, water and sun protection.

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