Jones Creek Trail
Trails within the Arboretum are graded easiest, moderate, and more difficult based on terrain and length.
Trail Grade: More Difficult
This 0.3-mile dirt trail rises and falls nearly 25 feet along its course. The trail is not suitable for strollers. The Jones Creek trail meanders through a “baygall” or bay head and then up and along a sand bluff. Watch your footing and be aware of many grade changes and exposed tree roots on this narrow trail through jurisdictional wetlands. The water in Jones Creek is mostly fresh water, but becomes more brackish as it turns north. There is a large cypress tree on this trail near its junction with the Lake Loop. At higher elevations, you will find an upland hardwood forest populated with oaks and hickories.
Points of Interest
Jones Creek is a freshwater creek that begins in the Southside Estates area south of Atlantic Boulevard and flows north into the St. Johns River. Though clean by most urban standards, the water is not drinkable because of periodic coliform contamination from the surrounding residential areas. The creek supports a large variety of animal life. Many kinds of reptiles and amphibians call Jones Creek home and the creek teems with fish. It is not unusual to find water snakes, salamanders, crawfish and frogs living side by side with mosquito fish, bluegill and largemouth bass. Raccoons, opossums and otters also make their homes here, along with the Arboretum’s popular barred owl family. The creek is tidal here, so you can see it swell and shrink with the tides, but it is freshwater, not brackish. This area is frequently flooded following heavy rains.
Upland Hardwoods were once found along the high, sandy bluffs bordering creeks in north Florida. However, because of their ideal soil, temperature and light conditions, humans have developed much of this habitat. In fact, it is one of the world’s most endangered habitats. The most common species in the Upland Hardwood canopy layer at the Arboretum are pignut hickory (Carva glabra), live oak (Quercus virginiana), and laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia). Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) tree are also scattered around. Also called bull bay or evergreen magnolia, they have large, fragrant, creamy-white petals with a purple center that are attractive to pollinators and humans alike. The most common mid-story species here are horse sugar (Symplocos tinctoria) and saw palmettos (Serenoa repens) and the understory layer consists of many shade-tolerant forbs and ferns.