The Baldwin Rail Trail Awaits You
Whether you enjoy horseback riding, bike riding, or plain old hiking, the Jacksonville-Baldwin Trail offers almost fifteen miles of enjoyable excursions through both rural and urban Florida.
The trail was first opened in 1992. It begins in the largest city of Florida, Jacksonville, at the Imeson Road trailhead and finishes in the sparsely populated town of Baldwin at the Brandy Brand Road trailhead. As it passes from the biggest town in the state to a much smaller one, the trail offers a unique look at contrasting urban environments in Florida. The trail is also nicely divided into three separate tracks depending on whether you plan to go by bike, horse, or any other means of transport, ensuring that bikes have clear pathways and pedestrians need not worry about the presence of horses or cyclists along their route.
In terms of wildlife, the trail offers animal enthusiasts the chance to come across a wide variety of local fauna. Birdwatchers will be inspired by the sights of hawks, storks, buzzards and kingfishers, to give but a few examples. Meanwhile, closer to the ground, people will be able to spot the likes of alligators, coral snakes, rabbits, squirrels, tortoises, armadillos and more.
You need to be careful around the coral snakes as they are poisonous, but the path is protected from the alligators. In terms of flora, visitors can also appreciate the sights of various native trees. The trail itself passes through a variety of environments including wetlands to give visitors a thorough look at the typology of the sunshine state.
One of the unique aspects of this trail is the presence of an old civil war camp about halfway along. Camp Milton – Milton being the name of a Floridian governor at the time of the camp’s construction – was originally built to defend the town of Jacksonville against unionist forces. This camp is open to the public and contains all manner of exciting historical information, much of which is presented for the convenience of visitors in a recently constructed education center. Visitors can also see a traditional farmstead and some of the old camp fortifications, which run for an entire mile along the route.
As the trail is of considerable length, particularly for visitors who choose to jog or hike, various facilities are placed along the path. Restrooms can be found at each end of the trail and halfway along it, which are vital for those who plan on walking for several hours. Hikers will also be grateful for the multitude of benches found along the trail, offering moments of rest for those in need.
The climate of Florida is known for its intense heat, which can even be magnified beneath the thick canopy of trees that covers much of the trail, so anyone who visits should be sure to stay hydrated and avoid warm clothes. Overall, the Jacksonville-Baldwin trail is the ideal place to get some exercise and enjoy the beauty of nature.