Myakka Hiking Trail
Length: 35.9 miles in 4 loops
Myakka River State Park is located off SR 72, approximately 15 miles east of Sarasota. Get the lock combination and location from the ranger station. Follow the main park road back to the trailhead parking as indicated on the park map. The footpath is well cared for. The terrain is flat and seasonally wet, with pine and palmetto landscape, oak hammocks and sloughs, and vast prairies.
Myakka River State Park is one of the oldest and largest state parks in Florida, encompassing 37,000 acres. It is well known for its abundant wildlife. This park has numerous ponds, marshes, swamps and streams, and the 7,500 acre wilderness preserve is like the Florida discovered by early explorers. The Myakka Hiking Trail meanders through hammocks of live oak and cabbage palm, across open palmetto flatwoods and along small marshes. The trail traverses broad open prairies up to two miles across, a preserved remnant of Central Florida’s original grasslands. The trail has six campsites: Bee Island, Honore, Panther Point, Prairie, Oak Grove, and Mossy Hammock. Each provides a pitcher pump for water but you must treat all water before using. Myakka River State Park Photo: (Kurt Gildemeister)
Deer, turkey, otter, wild hogs and bobcats inhabit this park, but hikers have to be lucky, quiet, and knowledgeable of animal habits to see them. There are also eagles, sandhill cranes, ospreys and alligators along with most types of Florida waterfowl. Florida panthers still live in this area, but the chance of coming across one is remote. There are poisonous water moccasins and pygmy rattlesnakes in the park, so use appropriate caution. All wildlife in the park is protected, including snakes.
The park headquarters has a museum, native programs, a boat ride and brochures on the park wildlife. There are remains of pioneer settlements and old cattle camps in the park.