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Hickory Hammock Trail is One of My Favorite Trails in Florida!


One of the best hikes in Florida in my opinion is the Hickory Hammock Trail.

Hickory Hammock Trail
Hickory Hammock Trail


Hickory Hammock Management Area

Hickory Hammock Wildlife Management Area
Hickory Hammock Wildlife Management Area

Majestic live oaks on either side of the hiking trail offer a welcome as you enter the vintage panorama of Hickory Hammock. Marshes, patches of scrub and oak, hickory and cabbage palm hammocks await exploration. Remnants of the Istokpoga Slough provide cool relief to the landscape.

Majestic Live Oak
Majestic Live Oak

Mostly river floodplain marsh, the area provides 4,777 acres of opportunities to hike, bird watch, ride horses, hunt, fish and just relax. An on-site equestrian center is available to horse riders and other large groups for organized activities that require a large amount of space.

The Hickory Hammock Management Area is located south of Bluff Hammock Management Unit, in Okeechobee and Highlands counties. The areas are open year-around for a variety of public uses.

Hickory Hammock is a stop along the Great Florida Birding Trail and the Everglades Trail, as well as existing beside the Florida Cracker Trail.

Text Source: South Florida Water Management District.


History

Originally a working cattle ranch owned by the McArthur Dairy Company, much of the area included in Hickory Hammock was separated from the floodplain of the Kissimmee River by a series of berms and dikes. These dikes and fences have now been removed to allow free access to the river floodplain. A two-story barn built in 1946 and outbuildings constructed many years ago are the only signs remaining of the cattle ranch that once graced the area. These are now part of the Hickory Hammock Equestrian Center and campground.

Two-story Barn
Two-story Barn, Hickory Hammock Trail

Wildlife commonly seen in the area include deer, turkey, hogs, quail, barn owl, eastern diamondback rattlesnakes, pygmy rattlesnakes, gopher tortoise, sand skinks, and many species of birds including crested caracara, sand hill cranes in the upland area and wading birds in the marshes.

Hawk
Hawk, Hickory Hammock Trail

Text Source: South Florida Water Management District.


Access

Another Beautiful Oak Tree
Beautiful Oak Tree, Hickory Hammock Trail

Main trailhead at Hickory Hammock is eight miles southeast of Lorida and about one-half mile northwest of the Istokpoga Canal. (18 miles south of Sebring and 33 miles north of Okeechobee on Hwy. 98.)

Hikers enjoy a section of the Florida National Scenic Trail that winds for 11 miles through the properties, with several primitive campsites along the trail.

Primitive Campsite
Primitive Campsite, Hickory Hammock Trail

The Istokpoga Canal Boat Ramp Area is the newest of South Florida Water Management District maintained sites offering recreational access to the Kissimmee River. The 18-acre boat ramp area also offers trail access to the Hickory Hammock Wildlife Management Area. The Istokpoga Canal Boat Ramp Area is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Gopher Tortoise
Gopher Tortoise, Hickory Hammock Trail

For More Information: Okeechobee Service Center 1-800-250-4200 or (863) 462-5260.

Text Source: South Florida Water Management District.





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