Nestled near the west Florida coastline between Sarasota and Venice, the underrated Oscar Scherer State Park is a haven for folks looking for a peaceful day hike in this part of southwest Florida. The park is known best as the home of the last remaining scrub jay habitat in southwest Florida, but it also has a superb color-coded trail system that introduces hikers to South Creek and its hammocks as well as the scrub and flatwoods nearby. In particular, the diverse Yellow Trail - part of the park's North Trail System - passes through a large range of ecosystems, crossing South Creek twice, passing a beautiful lake known as Big Lake, and travelling through a large section of the scrub. Hikers will even be able to see an old railroad trestle across South Creek. Thanks to its range of scenery and points of interest, the Yellow Trail at Oscar Scherer State Park has quickly turned into one of my favorite hikes in Southwest Florida. This hike occurred on Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017. My plan was to hike the Yellow Loop Trail counter-clockwise with a short detour to the Big Lake observation platform.
Oscar Scherer State Park: South Creek Trail, Lester Finley Trail, Green Trail, and Lake Osprey Trail, Osprey, Florida
Located in a sprawling urban area along the southwest Florida coast, Oscar Scherer State Park protects a large swath of land that is considered as an urban getaway. South Creek flows through the center of the park, and large areas of prime scrub jay habitat lie on either side. Oscar Scherer State Park is considered as the only remaining haven for scrub jays in southwest Florida. There are several hiking trails in the park that you can explore, split into two trail general trail systems: the North Trail System and the South Trail System. On this day, I hiked the entire South Trail System, first along the shores of South Creek and then through scrub where scrub jays flew from tree to tree and an old bald eagle nest from the past spring was perched high up in a grand pine tree. This hike occurred on Wednesday, June 29th, 2016. My plan was to hike the South Creek Trail and Lester Finley Trail out and back. I would then hike the Green Trail loop clockwise, before finishing up with the short walk around Lake Osprey.
Mark Oleg Ozboyd
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