In 1539, Hernando de Soto reached the US and landed approximately 5 miles west of Bradenton. It was the start of the first major, organized exploration by the Europeans of the southern United States. Today, a small tract of public land called the Fort De Soto National Memorial marks the location of the landing. This small national preserve has a lot to offer on its nature trail, including a mangrove swamp, a homestead, and views of the Manatee River. Additionally, you can extend your hike into nearby Riverview Pointe Preserve for some hiking in the uplands farther from the shoreline. This hike occurred on Friday, February 5th, 2016. My plan was to start my hike at Riverview Pointe Preserve. I would hike down the nature trail to Fort De Soto National Memorial, from where I would hike the Memorial Trail. to Desoto Point and then to De Soto Monument. I would retrace my steps back to Riverview Pointe Preserve the same way, but I would use a connector to shortcut some of the trail on the return trip.
Robinson Preserve: Osprey Loop, Tern Trail, Gull Trail, and Spoonbill Trail to Ibis Trail, Bradenton, Florida
The salt marshes that dot the regions near the ocean can be some of the most scenic environments for hiking in Florida. On this hike, you can escape the urban feelings of the city of Bradenton for an afternoon walk in a relatively little-known preserve just outside of the city limits. On this hike, you'll traverse many miles of salt marshes, travel to the shoreline of Tampa Bay, and climb up an observation tower to a sweeping vista of Tampa Bay and the surrounding salt marshes. This hike occurred on Wednesday, July 1st, 2015. My plan was to hike the Osprey Loop counter-clockwise. Along the way, I would take the spur trail to the Manatee Overlook observation tower, as well as Tern Trail and Gull Trail. If I would have any leftover time, I would also take the Spoonbill Trail to the Ibis Trail and take the short Ibis Trail to a view of Perico Bayou.
Year 1: 540.0 Miles
Year 2: 552.3 Miles
Year 3: 518.4 Miles
Year 4: 434.5 Miles