One of several small preserves on the shores of Sarasota Bay, Quick Point Nature Preserve is located at the southern tip of Longboat Key, protecting one of the last undeveloped places on this long barrier island. The preserve is an important step in helping to restore some of the habitats that used to be located all along Sarasota Bay. In addition to protecting a few natural lagoons near the coastline, there is a man-made lagoon that was created to help support marine life in the area. Nearly the entire shore of Sarasota Bay is developed, both from the Longboat Key side and from the mainland side. Preserves such as this one, while small, are always very beneficial, because a lot of the ecosystems native to the area have been erased by development. This hike occurred on Saturday, February 6th, 2016. My plan was to hike the short nature trail in Quick Point Preserve.
R/T Length of Trail: 1.1 Miles
Duration of Hike: 0:40
Type of Hike: Out and Back
Difficulty Rating: 1 out of 10
Total Elevation Gain: Minimal
Points of Interest: Lagoons near the trail; Quick Point and its views of Sarasota Bay
Trail Blaze Color(s): None
Best Season(s) to Hike: Year-round
Beginning Point: The Overlook Park at the Longboat Key - St. Armands Key Bridge
Directions: This hike is located inside the city limits of the town of Longboat Key. The trailhead for this hike is located in Overlook Park at the southern end of Longboat Key. If you're driving south on Florida State Route 789, Overlook Park will be to your right immediately before the drawbridge that connects Longboat Key and St. Armands Key. Park in the designated area. You can start the hike either at the boardwalk at the far end of the parking area, or you can cross the roadway and start the hike at the paved path on the other side of the road.
A map and some other information regarding this hike can be viewed here.
On this rainy Saturday, I was trying to find a window of dry time to hike this short trail at t he very tip of Longboat Key. No sooner had I started hiking the nature trail than it started to rain intensively, decreasing the quality of many of my photos. Luckily, the hike isn't long, so I didn't get caught in the rain for an extended period of time.
When I arrived at Overlook Park, was a bit confused about the starting point of the trail .It seems like the official starting point is the boardwalk at the far end of the parking area. However, I thought the boardwalk is just a fishing access, so I crossed the main road and entered the preserve from the sidewalk on the opposite side of the road. There is a sign "Quick Point Nature Preserve" here. Take the paved path to an intersection at 0.2 miles. Here, there is an informational sign regarding the preserve. The paved path bears right to the boardwalk below the bridge. The main trail turns left. Turn left and pass a small strip of beach. The wide path soon reaches a man-made lagoon. A boardwalk crosses the mouth of the lagoon, and as I crossed the boardwalk, a group of vultures scattered off into different directions. At 0.35 miles, a short spur trail on the left leads to an observation deck at a natural lagoon. Both the man-made lagoon and natural lagoon help to support the salt water ecosystems that are found in this area. At 0.6 miles, reach the end of the trail at Quick Point. There is an observation deck here with a great view of this lower end of Sarasota Bay. You can see the Sarasota skyline from here. From the Quick Point view, retrace your steps back to the junction near the beginning. Continue on the paved path that shortly turns to boardwalk next to the drawbridge. The boardwalk is popular wit fishermen, but it also provides a great view of New Pass and Sarasota Bay. From the boardwalk, you can see Quick Point, where you just were. The boardwalk makes a right turn, and after passing under the drawbridge, the hike ends at Overlook Park at 1.1 miles. At the end of the boardwalk, as you approach your car, you can fully see New Pass and the Gulf of Mexico in the distance.
0.0 - Overlook Park
0.2 - Junction, turn left
0.3 - Boardwalk over man-made lagoon
0.35 - Spur trail on left to natural lagoon
0.6 - Quick Point, views of Sarasota Bay
1.0 - Junction, bear left, reach boardwalk with great views of Sarasota Bay and New Pass
1.1 - Overlook Park
Besides the fact that you can start from the boardwalk and cut off about a tenth of a mile, there are no other variations.
Check out the Joan M. Durante Park, also on Longboat Key. There are nature trails there that pass through coastal ecosystems similar to the ones at Quick Point Nature Preserve, and in fact, the trail system at Joan M. Durante Park is actually slightly more extensive and improved.
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