Moses Creek Conservation Area

St. Augustine boasts well over 25,000 acres of public lands- it’s an incredible place to enjoy nature and take in The Real Florida.  While playgrounds like the Carousel Park and downtown’s SWING park are easy to spot, the nature preserves are often harder to find.  When you do see them, it’s hard to tell if they’re worth visiting.  We’d driven past Moses Creek Conservation Area dozens of times before we stopped for a hike.

The small parking lot off SR 206 is unassuming but the 2,173 acres tucked away there give you the opportunity to explore seven distinct habitats and enjoy a reprieve from tourist filled streets.  And with fewer bugs than some of the more tidal preserves, I give Moses Creek 2 thumbs up!

Your “hike” will start through upland pine scrub.  Now I know I could get in a lot of trouble here.  First, you accomplished outdoors people from up North may take issue with my use of the term “hike”.  I know Florida is not mountainous.  The most strenuous part of the average FL hike is swatting away mosquitoes!  But I’m still calling it a hike because I’ve always lived in Florida & it’s my blog.

Thing #2- I am no scientist.  I love being outdoors and I enjoy observing nature.  But I may sometimes call upland pines scrubby when in fact they’re mesic.  Or mesic and scrubby. {I have no idea what mesic means- but isn’t it a great word?}.  So read for pleasure or as a starting point for your doctoral research, not as the piece de resistance in your papers. *grin*

protip for students: please do not use this site as a reference for science papers.  Unless your science teacher’s goal is to teach you to love and observe nature and crack open a guide book for yourself to learn outside the classroom and without a textbook.  In which case, read on comrade!!

As I was saying, we started our hike on a sandy road through piney habitat.  It wasn’t very engaging and we almost turned back.  But then the girls spotted horses.

They were sure this was a hike worth taking now!  I mean, if it’s good enough for the horses, it’s good enough for us!  {Horseback riding needs to go on next year’s to-do list.  My girls are more-than-slightly horse obsessed.}

We didn’t see any more horsies but the road forked and we turned toward the intracoastal.  I love the canopy forming here.  It was cool and dry {no ‘squitoes} and really pretty in its own, wild way.

Call me crazy, but I can stop almost anywhere along that trail and find something that takes my breath away:

Fast forward… the road {err… trail} opened into a primitive camping area.  Pack in, pack out.  There’s a port-o-potty and overflowing trash can and a picnic table & benches.  Maybe a faucet.   

Check out your view when you camp here:

This tidal marsh area wasn’t mosquitoey when we visited. But that was in January…

There is a longer trail option I hear ends at a bluff overlooking the marsh.  That hike is on my to-do list for a crisp day here soon.  If you beat me to it, comment & tell me how it is!!

Oh, and I couldn’t stand not knowing what mesic means.

  • “In ecology, a mesic habitat is a type of habitat with a moderate or well-balanced supply of moisture, e.g., a mesic forest, a temperate hardwood forest, or dry-mesic prairie. Compared to a dry habitat, a mesic habitat is more moist.” –Wikipedia 
  • Check out these native plant communities found here in Florida. 

Whether you hike, bike, go horseback riding or camp, you’ll enjoy Moses Creek!

Moses Creek Conservation Area
Find it in the southeast St. Johns County on the Matanzas River.
The parking lot is off State Road (SR) 206 just west of the river. 

p.s. For more parks and playgrounds in St Augustine, <-click there.
p.p.s. Discover more trails via the St. Johns River Water Management District‘s site.

Comments

  1. Nadia says

    I didn’t know you cam camp there. Do you know if you need to pay something at the entrance or is it free?
    I went there last year too for the first time, after years of driving by.

    • says

      Yes, you can camp! Be prepared to rough it though… only primitive camping is available and you have to pack-in, pack-out. There is a port-a-potty and I believe there is a water spigot. This site has more information: http://www.sjrwmd.com/camping/

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