The Fort George River Inlet trailhead (Jacksonville, FL) was closed for refurbishment during Covid, but has since reopened. Although there was initially a fee to use the paved lot, the fee-box has been removed, as has the portable toilet.
As one stands at the edge of the lot and gazes toward the waterway, there appears to be a trail through marshy scrub. However, this trail only extends a short distance.
Although walking along the water is permitted, this can be treacherous for those unfamiliar with the environment. As tidal surges come and go, one may find it impossible to backtrack the one-way route without wading.
The paved bike/hiking trail is accessed by passing beneath the bridge. Previously, the trail ended abruptly when traveling northward, ending in a gate blocking access to Little Talbot Island. However, the trail now continues to the park’s main entrance three miles away.
Hikers can walk off the trail and gaze at the water over a stony barrier. Watch for Ruddy Turnstones and other peeps, which like to forage between the rocks.
Swimming is always discouraged along Talbot Island’s southern beach and in the water along the bike trail. Currents are particularly strong in this calm-looking section, and many people have been killed.
Currently, the space between the bike trail and ocean looks manicured and lawn-like. However, during the spring and summer, native wildflowers appear. During this time, watch for Savannah Sparrows which enjoy feeding on the seeds.
How to reach the trailhead
Traveling north on A1A, pass the entrance to the Kingsley Plantation (on the left) and then Huguenot Memorial Park (on the right). Soon afterward, one passes across a bridge, which spans the Fort George River. A brown sign saying Fort George Inlet Access Parking will be on the left after crossing the bridge. The driveway into the lot is hidden by a row of large palm trees.
Traveling south on A1A, pass the entrance to Little Talbot Island (on the left). Continue three miles. Watch for a brown sign that says Fort George Inlet Access Parking (on the right). If one crosses the bridge over the Fort George River, they’ve gone too far.