Welaka State Forest

County Rd 309, Welaka, 32193
Daily, sunrise to sunset

Visitors to the Welaka National Fish Hatchery should also explore the State Forest’s trails to bird its wetlands, flatwoods, sandhills, bayheads and hardwood hammocks. As this is a remote area, come prepared if you intend to spend a few hours at this site. Pick up a bird list and trail map at the entrance kiosk or at the forest office, as there are 8 miles of hiking trails and 7 miles of horse trails available. From the parking area south of headquarters the (unpaved) Forest Education Trail provides a good interpretation of the forest’s habitats and wildlife. The boardwalk also extends out into the floodplain forest of the St. John’s River, which attracts migratory songbirds like Indigo Buntings, Black-throated Green Warblers and Black-and-white Warblers in October and again in April. The John’s Landing Trail leads south for more than 4 miles. Look for Wild Turkeys, Northern Bobwhites, mixed flocks of migrating warblers and Florida Sandhill Cranes nesting in the ephemeral wetlands. Bald Eagles nest nearby and frequently fly over the property. The Mud Spring Trail is almost 2 miles long, and its entrance is north of the Forest Education Trail. Although birding can be good, it is very popular on warm weekends. Primitive camping along the St. Johns River and full RV hookup camping opportunities are available.

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