Theodore Roosevelt Area trails at Fort Caroline

There are three trailheads crossing the Theodore Roosevelt Area adjoining Fort Caroline:

  • Paved lot at Fort Caroline National Memorial (12713 Fort Caroline Road, Jacksonville FL). Restrooms. Picnic area.
  • Paved lot opposite the entrance to Fort Caroline. No facilities.
  • Unpaved lot at Willie Browne Trailhead (13303 Mount Pleasant Road). Restrooms.

Today I walked from the Willie Browne Trailhead to Fort Caroline and back, a hike of roughly 7 miles. (For trail map, click here.)

Theodore Roosevelt area trail

I started at the Willie Browne Trailhead. Before long, I crossed Hammock Creek.

Bridge over Hammock Creek. Willie Browne Trail, Jacksonville, FL.

Along the way, I came across a small cemetery, the resting place of Willie Browne. Browne was an admirer of Theodore Roosevelt and bequeathed his land as a conservation area.

A few foundation stones are all that remain of Browne’s humble cabin.

Willie Browne cabin foundation stones.

Further along the trail, I climbed a one-story observation tower overlooking an expansive marsh.

View from observation tower.

Although tree roots cross all trails, they are especially prevalent north of the tower. Here the elevation increases, allowing glimpses of the water and marshland below.

The tower loop links to Spanish Pond Trail, which can be buggy. Today, few insects were present. But on other days, I’ve walked through swarms of mosquitoes.

Boardwalk on Spanish Pond Trail.

Fort Caroline National Memorial has restrooms and ample picnic tables, so this was a good place to stop for lunch. Afterwards, I visited the small fort and the adjoining nature trail.

The trail is moderately to heavily traveled, so wildlife sightings will be limited. Today I saw this Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis). Although I have seen hundreds, perhaps thousands, of these animals, I’d never seen one a raised crest. Perhaps a rival was in the area.

Green Anole with raised crest.

Published by cafsamsel

Carol Fullerton-Samsel is a nearly-native Floridian who lives with her husband of 25 years and three rescue animals. She has a passion for day-hiking and nature, and also enjoys writing. Be sure to visit the TenPaths YouTube channel, which is still in its infancy.

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