Pinellas County’s largest natural area, this preserve safeguards the 41-square mile Brooker Creek Watershed and ranks as one of the county’s top birding and wildlife viewing destinations. Visitors have two hiking trails and 9 miles of equestrian trails to enjoy. On the west side of the preserve, the rustic Friends Trail traverses upland flatwoods, freshwater marsh, open areas, and shady oak hammocks. A marsh overlook is located a quarter mile from the trailhead. On the east side, a 4-mile, multi-loop trail system called the BCP Wildlands Trail has two trailheads near the BCP Environmental Education Center; the trail meanders through pinelands, hammocks and swamps. Elevated boardwalks near the education center allow hiking around Brooker Creek, and a short “Bird Path” leads from the main parking lot through an oak hammock to a viewing blind at the edge of a freshwater marsh. Watch for Gopher Tortoises near the parking lot. Butterfly diversity is excellent, with more than 60 species recorded. Spicebush Swallowtail, Barred Yellow, White Peacock, White M Hairstreak, Red Admiral, Southern Cloudywing, Delaware Skipper and Neamathla Skipper are all possible. Closing times vary for the BCP Wildlands Trail and are posted at the education center and the trailheads; call ahead for hours of operation. Some trails may be closed during times of high water. Guided hikes, bird and butterfly walks (weekends) and educational programs are offered; call ahead for details.