Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve | PINELANDS TRAIL

Pinelands Trail at Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve's Cedar Point

Pinelands Trail at Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve’s Cedar Point

Length: 1.1 mile one way from parking lot
Time: Varies. Allow up to an hour.
Difficulty: Easy

The Pinelands Trail is located in the Cedar Point unit of Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. Parking is located at the end of Cedar Point Road. The trail is an out-and-back trail that has a few side trails branching off of it, most of which are closed. It serves no real purpose other than to connect hikers to trails in the neighboring Cedar Point Preserve, both to the north of the Cedar Point property and on the other side of Pumpkin Hill Creek to the west.

Neither the Cedar Point trail map provided on the National Park Service website nor the maps provided on the 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)

While the Pinelands Trail is .75 mile long, to reach it you must first hike .35 mile on the Cedar Point Loop Trail, which is the trail you start out on from the parking lot. When you get to the intersection, the trail forks, with the Pinelands Trail veering to the right and the Cedar Point Loop Trail to the left. Both are marked with plastic posts that have colored blazes on them: red for the Pinelands Trail and blue for the Cedar Point Loop Trail. Directional signage is also at the intersection.

Start of the Pinelands Trail at Cedar Point, Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

Start of the Pinelands Trail at Cedar Point, Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

The Pinelands Trail is a former dirt road, so it is wide, flat, and easy to hike. Much of it is out in the open, so if avoiding the sun is important to you, wear a hat and apply sunscreen. Also, there is a lot of grass on the trail, which means there are plenty of ticks. I didn’t pick up any when I hiked the trail in mid-March, but I’ve read reviews where people claim they didn’t just pick up one tick, but dozens. Sounds like a nightmare outside of the winter months. I visited the area three times in different years, all in March. Twice there wasn’t a bug in sight. However, one time the gnats were so bad that I couldn’t function until I had put on long pants, a long sleeve shirt, and a mosquito net over my head. Thus, you never know what you’ll find, but be prepared for the worst. Once the weather warms up, mosquitoes, gnats, and biting yellow flies make any time spent at Cedar Point pure misery.

I mentioned earlier that the Pinelands Trail is not worth hiking unless you are trying to get to the Cedar Point Preserve trails, but actually there is a short segment that is worth your time. Just a tenth of a mile down the Pinelands Trail is an intersection with a side trail (on the left) 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.

The terrain of the side trail is similar to that of the main trail, though it is not as wide. When you arrive at the marsh you will see an open area where you can get some nice photos. The bridge—which you can see from this point—is just around the corner, and you can get even better photos from it.

Bridge over Pumpkin Hill Creek at Cedar Point, Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

Bridge over Pumpkin Hill Creek at Cedar Point, Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

The bridge crosses over Pumpkin Hill Creek, and on the other side is the Cedar Point Preserve. This is still part of Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, but it is owned by the city of Jacksonville. Since National Park Planner only covers attractions owned and operated by the National Park Service, I didn’t hike any farther than the bridge. Trails do extend into the city-owned property.

Bridge over Pumpkin Hill Creek at Cedar Point in the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

Bridge over Pumpkin Hill Creek at Cedar Point in the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

Pumpkin Hill Creek in the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

Pumpkin Hill Creek in the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

View of Pumpkin Hill Creek from the bridge on the Pinelands Trail

View of Pumpkin Hill Creek from the bridge on the Pinelands Trail

Once back at the main trail, my suggestion is to either head back to the parking lot or hike the far superior Cedar Point Loop Trail. However, if you insist, you can continue north on the Pinelands Trail until it ends at another section of the Cedar Point Preserve. The trail remains wide and open as before, but the farther you go, the less interesting the scenery becomes. It is nothing but a wide, dirt avenue that runs between stands of pine trees.

Pinelands Trail at Cedar Point in the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

Pinelands Trail at Cedar Point in the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

Beyond the turnoff for the bridge, there are three more side trails that branch off to the left, a C-shaped trail to the right, and a trail on the right at the very end of the main trail that leads to Cedar Point Road. All of these are closed for some reason except the left-hand trail at the very end. Trail posts with a picture of hikers with a slash through them indicate their closed status.

Most side trails along the Pinelands Trail at Cedar Point are closed

Most side trails along the Pinelands Trail at Cedar Point are closed

Cedar Point is in the middle of nowhere, so you are unlikely to come across other hikers, and even more unlikely to find a park Ranger lurking around. Therefore, nothing is stopping you from hiking these side trails—I don’t even know why they are closed. However, all of the ones on the left (except the one at the very end of the Pinelands Trail) are overgrown and just dead end. You’re just asking to pick up ticks by hiking them.

Terrain of the second left side trail on the Pinelands Trail at Cedar Point

Terrain of the second left side trail on the Pinelands Trail at Cedar Point

The C-shaped detour on the right side of the Pinelands Trail is better. The terrain on the south end is actually pretty, and there is a swamp area that might be of interest. Such places are good spots for bird watching. If you hike any of the side trails, this would be the one to take.

Southern half of the C-shaped side trail off of the Pinelands Trail at Cedar Point

Southern half of the C-shaped side trail off of the Pinelands Trail at Cedar Point

Swampy area on the C-shaped side trail at Cedar Point in the Timucuan Preserve

Swampy area on the C-shaped side trail at Cedar Point in the Timucuan Preserve

About .4 mile from the southern entrance of the C-shaped trail is a 4-way intersection, and by this point things have gotten a little run down. Take a left to get back to the main trail. If you keep straight, as I did, you’ll end up near the northern border of the Cedar Point property on the trail that leads to Cedar Point Road. A right heads in the direction of the road, but ends short of connecting to it. A left, which is the way to go, takes you back to the main section of the Pinelands Trail. Because I had the crappy National Park Service map, I had no idea where I was.

4-way intersection on the C-shaped trail at Cedar Point

4-way intersection on the C-shaped trail at Cedar Point

For those who just stick to the main Pinelands Trail and are navigating with the incorrect National Park Service map, be aware that the map makes it look like the trail dead ends at the northern park boundary, forcing you to take either a left over to the marsh near Pumpkin Hill Creek or a right to Cedar Point Road. However, this is not the case. The main trail actually curves to the right and keeps on going. If you don’t heed the NO HIKERS sign, you’ll end up near Cedar Point Road. The left-hand trail is an actual turn off from the main trail.

Trail at the northern end of the Pinelands Trail that leads to Cedar Point Road

Trail at the northern end of the Pinelands Trail that leads to Cedar Point Road

There is no post with a red blaze on it marking the intersection with the left-hand trail. In fact, it doesn’t even look like a trail. It is nothing more than a wide open gap between the left and right tree lines. However, this is the Pinelands Trail, and just over a tenth of a mile is the intersection with a trail that does have a post with a red blaze. This leads into the woods and to Cedar Point Preserve. The wide trail continues past this intersection towards the marsh, but a post with a NO HIKERS emblem indicates that it is closed. I didn’t venture farther to see what was at the end, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was overgrown and just petered out like the other three left-hand side trails.

Left-hand trail at the very northern end of the Pinelands Trail at Cedar Point

Left-hand trail at the very northern end of the Pinelands Trail at Cedar Point

Segment of the Pinelands Trail that connects to the Cedar Creek Preserve

Segment of the Pinelands Trail that connects to the Cedar Creek Preserve

The trail into the woods is the only trail at Cedar Point that is an actual hiking trail and not an old dirt road. It is narrow, shaded, and lined with palmetto bushes and other shrubs. After a quarter mile it ends at the Cedar Point Preserve boundary. You can hike farther if you want to, but I turned around and headed back to the parking lot. As I said, unless you want to hike the Cedar Point Preserve trails or have nothing better to do with your time, there is no reason to take the Pinelands Trail this far.

Terrain on the segment of the Pinelands Trail that leads to Cedar Point Preserve

Terrain on the segment of the Pinelands Trail that leads to Cedar Point Preserve

Boundary of the Cedar Point property and Cedar Point Preserve

Boundary of the Cedar Point property and Cedar Point Preserve

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Last updated on April 16, 2022
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