Hiking in The Palm Beaches

An exciting day of getting back to nature is just a short walk away

It is easy to get back to nature in The Palm Beaches. A short drive west from the coast will bring you to lush tracts of grasslands. These brightly-hued grasslands are part of a vast natural water system that brings life to South Florida. Visitors can see thousands of birds as well as other species of native wildlife, but you don’t need an airboat to see this beauty. Many local preserves and trails are designed with exploring-by-foot in mind, so grab your comfy shoes as you venture into a different side of The Palm Beaches.   Grassy Waters Preserve – West Palm Beach, Fla.

Located to the north and west of West Palm Beach, this preserve is a 23-square-mile wetlands ecosystem that serves as the freshwater supply for the city. Grassy Waters is an untouched remnant of the once-sprawling Everglades ecosystem. It serves as home for many birds, white-tailed deer, otters, bobcats and alligators. Many educational programs are available, as well as five trails of varying lengths. The 16-mile Owahee Trail is great for bikes or advanced hikers, while the half-mile Eagle Trail offers easy parking and restroom facilities. The other trails offer a choice of distance so walkers can pick the distance that’s right for them. Each of the respective trails has its own parking and starting point. We recommend reviewing the trail map to select your hike.   Riverbend Park – Jupiter, Fla.

A drive to the north will bring you to Riverbend Park in Jupiter. This park is the site of the Second Seminole Indian War, and is home to some of The Palm Beaches’ earliest history. The park boasts nearly ten miles of biking and hiking trails and seven miles of equestrian trails. Bike and canoe rentals are also available on site. Individual trails run from ten miles down to several less than a quarter mile. Riverbend Park is a preserve, so dogs are not allowed on the grounds.   Wakodatahatchee Wetlands – Delray Beach, Fla.

West of Delray Beach is the Wakodatahatchee Wetlands, a 50-acre area set aside to filter treated wastewater and feed it into the Everglades. While under a mile in length, the walk is packed with great bird viewing opportunities, interpretive signage and benches. A restroom is available, and the walk is easy.   Green Cay Nature Center and Wetlands – Boynton Beach, Fla.

West of Boynton Beach is another great walk that is perfect for a beginner hiker or nature enthusiast. The Green Cay Nature Center and Wetlands overlooks 100 acres of constructed wetland and has a boardwalk trail that is a mile and a half long. Visitors will get a close look at natural ponds, various hammock and cypress swamp.

John Price Park – Lake Worth, Fla.

West of Lake Worth is John Price Park, home of a 4.5-mile walking and biking trail. Originally located far west of population when first established in the 1950s, the park is now centrally located and just off I-95 and Lantana Road. The park offers camping, fishing and boating, as well as most team sports.

Jupiter Ridge Natural Area – Jupiter, Fla.

Just a few miles south of the Jupiter Inlet on U.S. Highway 1 is the Jupiter Ridge Natural Area. This 274-acre natural area contains scrubby flatwood, depression marsh, and mangrove swamp ecosystems.  Three short trails cover the area, and an observation platform overlooks the tidal swamp channels of Old Lake Worth Creek.

Pine Glades – Jupiter, Fla

A 6700-acre wetland, the Pine Glades Natural Area attracts colorful wading birds including blue heron and white ibis.  After you finish one of the 4 available paths, you can put in your kayak to explore the wetlands by water.

Many of these trails are embedded within larger parks and preserves. Some are in urban-oriented parks, with easy access to stores and restroom facilities, while others are less developed.  Even the casual walker should bring water, sunscreen and perhaps a snack. Always follow safety rules posted at each hike and taking a cell phone is a great idea … not only for calls, but for the photo opportunities you’ll encounter. When exploring, make sure to tag your social media posts with #ThePalmBeaches.