Brooker Creek can be summed up simply as an adventure through a gnarled wooded forest with varied terrain (some muddy) forest trails where large active birds fluttering overhead will quietly watch every move as you study them. .This is the kind of place that gives old sneakers a purpose.
Hiking through one of the largest nature preserves in Pinellas County is a great way to escape the “main streets” and enjoy strolling along 9 miles of perfectly canopied trails.
On the day we visited the nature center was closed and our intent was to take our time traversing each trail searching high and low for wildlife in our path. The drive into the preserve is long and beautifully landscaped so if you begin to feel like you may have taken a wrong turn, it’s just up ahead, keep going!
Once your trail shoes are secured, you will forget about the drive and only focus on the gorgeous shade and curiously contrasting trails. Each section is slightly different while still providing the same views of towering forests. You almost forget just how large 8,700 acres is until you slowly look up along the tall thin trees and feel almost too small to be in the presence of such a large and wonderful forest. I found the footing here to include some of softest trails I’ve ever walked on. The route progresses from soft fluffy sand to padded pine needle pathways, causing your steps to slow so every step may be enjoyed.
Brooker Creek Preserve trails are built at normal ground level and prone to flooding as noted on the website. Our visit was stopped short by a flooded section toward the South end of the walkways. We worked our way through the mud slicks and ponding waters until another hiker referred us to the “small lake” ahead. Getting any closer meant stepping onto heavily saturated ground that gladly sucked in any attempted footstep.
We completed our hike through the gnarled root forest back onto the boardwalk swamp trails, past the Nature Center, and back into our car to gratefully say our goodbyes to this beautiful place as we took the long drive out. Brooker Creek almost insists that you to slow down, enjoy your time there, and I think we all could use a moment of pause in our lives.
Go explore. Have fun.
What makes Brooker Creek a great spot?
- Opportunity to hike out of the sun
- Educational (Nature Center & Learning Kiosks on the boardwalk)
Planning for your visit:
- Old shoes
- Bug Spray
3940 Keystone Rd
Tarpon Springs, FL 34688
Nature Center Hours:
9 am- 4 pm Thurs-Sat
Find more information on the Pinellas County Website Here.
Find a detailed trail map here.
Thanks for reading!
Mandy- Wild Red