Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve | CEDAR POINT LOOP TRAIL

Cedar Point Loop Trail at Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

Cedar Point Loop Trail at Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

Length:  2.1-mile loop
Time: 1.5 hours
Difficulty: Easy

The Cedar Point Loop Trail is located in the Cedar Point unit of Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. It is one of two trails at Cedar Point, and the only one worth your time. Hikers are treated to some nice views of Pumpkin Hill Creek and the surrounding marsh, plus the ruins of the Fitzpatrick Plantation that was built around 1795. All trails at Cedar Point are open to both hikers and bikers.

When driving down Cedar Point Road, go all the way to the end for the trail parking lot. The trail you will be starting out on is the Cedar Point Loop Trail. The trailhead for the second trail, the Pinelands Trail, is just a short distance ahead.

Start of the Cedar Point Loop Trail in Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

Start of the Cedar Point Loop Trail in Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

Neither the Cedar Point trail map provided on the National Park Service website nor the maps provided on information panels along the trail are accurate (particularly the Pinelands Trail). I have made corrections, so be sure to download my Cedar Point Trail Map and bring a copy with you.

Cedar Point Trail Map (click to enlarge)

Cedar Point Trail Map (click to enlarge)

The Cedar Point Loop Trail is lollipop shaped, meaning you hike out on the stick portion before coming to the loop. In this case the stick is an old road, so the trail is wide, smooth, and easy to hike. It reminds me of the main road on Cumberland Island. The trail is shaded, but if you plan on hiking any of the Pinelands Trail as well, be aware that it is largely out in the open.

Typical terrain on the stick portion of the Cedar Point Loop Trail

Typical terrain on the stick portion of the Cedar Point Loop Trail

The intersection with the Pinelands Trail comes .35 mile from the start. The trail forks, with the Cedar Point Loop Trail veering to the left and the Pinelands Trail to the right. Both are marked with plastic posts that have colored blazes on them:  blue for the Cedar Point Loop Trail and red for the Pinelands Trail. Directional signage is at the intersection.

Intersection of the Cedar Point Loop Trail and Pinelands Trail (Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve)

Intersection of the Cedar Point Loop Trail and Pinelands Trail (Timucuan Preserve)

The loop portion of the Cedar Point Loop Trail comes shortly after the Pinelands Trail intersection. I chose to hike in the counterclockwise direction by taking the right fork. The trail is shaded with Spanish moss-draped trees, and palmetto bushes line the way. It is still wide, and most likely a former road, but it is not as wide as the stick portion.

Typical terrain on the loop portion of the Cedar Point Loop Trail (Timucuan Preserve)

Typical terrain on the loop portion of the Cedar Point Loop Trail (Timucuan Preserve)

If you have a copy of the National Park Service map, it shows two short spur trails that branch off the main trail to views of Pumpkin Hill Creek. Neither of these exist, though there are plenty of places along the southwest section of the trail where you can get a good view of the water, sometimes even being able to walk to the shore. The shoreline is a little muddy, so don’t venture close unless you have on hiking boots or shoes you don’t care about getting dirty.

View of Pumpkin Hill Creek from the Cedar Point Loop Trail (Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve)

View of Pumpkin Hill Creek from the Cedar Point Loop Trail (Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve)

Pumpkin Hill Creek and the surrounding salt Marsh (Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve)

Pumpkin Hill Creek and the surrounding salt Marsh (Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve)

At 1.5 miles into the hike is an intersection with a trail that cuts sharply to the right, almost a U-turn. Coming from the other direction it looks like a fork in the trail. In fact, it looks exactly like the fort where the loop started. There are even blue-blazed posts on each trail. I couldn’t figure out how I had gotten back to the start of the loop without even finishing the hike. Had I somehow traveled into another dimension? When I checked my GPS, I realized I was only three-fourths of the way around the loop. This was an intersection that was not on the map I had gotten from the National Park Service website. Curious, I decided to check it out.

Just a hundred yards down this side trail is the ruins of the Fitzpatrick Plantation that was built sometime around 1795. All that remains is one wall and part of a foundation. If an information panel hadn’t pointed out that it was a plantation house, I would have thought it was the ruins of an old Spanish mission. Of course, Florida was part of Spain in 1795, thus the architectural influence. The Fitzpatricks ran a business extracting salt from seawater with the help of slave labor. It was bought by the Broward Family in 1848, and they continued the business, even selling salt to the Confederate Army during the Civil War.

Ruins of the Fitzpatrick Plantation at Cedar Point (Timucuan Preserve)

Ruins of the Fitzpatrick Plantation at Cedar Point (Timucuan Preserve)

Ruins of the Fitzpatrick Plantation at Cedar Point at Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

Ruins of the Fitzpatrick Plantation at Cedar Point at Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

Once done at the plantation ruins, continue north on the main trail and in .2 mile you’ll be back at the intersection with the Pinelands Trail. I mentioned earlier that the Pinelands Trail was not worth hiking, but actually a small segment is worth your time. Just a tenth of a mile down the Pinelands Trail is an intersection with a trail that leads .4 mile to a bridge over Pumpkin Hill Creek. If you are looking for a nice photo, I suggest making the 1-mile round trip hike, otherwise, head back to the parking lot just .35 mile away. See the Pinelands Trail review here on National Park Planner for more information and plenty of photos.


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Last updated on April 15, 2022
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