Showing posts with label Orange Creek. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Orange Creek. Show all posts

October 7, 2021

Hiking With the Cows at Orange Creek Restoration Area, North Tract (Gainesville)

Location: near Island Grove community, off of Highway 329, at 29.45881° N, 82.08476° W

Nestled about 15 minutes south of Gainesville and not far from Highway 301, Orange Creek Restoration Area is a lightly trafficked hiking and horseback trails system approximately 5 miles long. Trails wander through shady pine and Florida scrub, with several sections of trail that are underwater after rain accumulates in rainier months.
Orange creek is a great opportunity to see many kinds of Florida wildlife. On our hikes we’ve encountered snakes, lizards, wild hogs, lots of bird species, and many kinds of insects. Non native residents of the park that are fun to view include a herd of (female) grazing cows that sometimes have calves nursing with the group.

Remember to always give wildlife appropriate space so that they don’t become agitated or possibly attack. Do not try to approach the cows.

This wildlife restoration area is used for hunting during some times of the year. Hunting season dates and notices will be posted at the gates, so be sure to keep your eyes out for these notifications. Hunters search for turkey and deer here during the appropriate seasons.

The five mile trail passes easily with its easy grade and plenty of shade from the Florida heat. There is a huge parking lot if you’re in a horse trailer or bringing friends.

One interesting stop towards the center of the park, and also accessible by an old dirt road, is the Carlton Cemetery, also known as the Old Sykes Cemetery. This beautiful old cemetery holds graves from pre-1900 from the original settlers to the area, primarily the Sykes family. Many of the headstones are showing their age. It’s a peaceful resting place and a nice break on the hike.

Make sure you wear a good pair of hiking boots or supportive shoes when you attempt this hike to protect your feet properly. A good pair of hiking boots will also come in handy if you run into a snake or any swamped areas of the trail.

The Columbia Men's Vent Shoes are my favorite footwear for hiking Florida trails. They’re lightweight and breathable, so my feet keep cool and don’t get sweaty. I’m always getting compliments on the bright blue and lime colors. I’ve had my current pair for about a year of frequent hikes and bike rides, so they are holding up well to frequent wear. Columbia has also made these shoes with an antimicrobial fabric to keep foot germs at bay.

Check out my favorite trail shoes by Columbia at the links to Amazon below if you’re looking for a great pair.

Amazon also offers the Columbia Vent Shoes in Green, Sea Salt/Canvas Tan, Black/White, and Monument/Rocket colors.

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