Best Nature Trail - 2013
Cypress Creek Natural Area
Yeah, alligators are pretty badass, but there's more to Florida's flora and fauna than those leathery, prehistoric beasts. The trails at Cypress Creek offer a glimpse into seven of the state's ecosystems that are home to an array of creatures both great and small. Step over bobcat and deer tracks as you amble through an oak and pine canopy before wandering past Sandhill cranes and purple gallinules chilling in a marshy flatland. Routes are well-suited for beginners but varied enough to hold a veteran hiker's attention. The 2,000-plus acres — much of which was acquired and rehabbed by the county in the past 15 years or so — are blissfully underused. That said, don't be shocked if one of those gators (or a snake or two) crosses your path at some point in the journey. Parking and entrance are located north of Indiantown Road, about one mile west of Florida's Turnpike.