I love hiking and I'm always looking for great places to go hiking. This week we hiked at two of the five locations of Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve. This makes three of the park entrances that we have went hiking. It is difficult to find out trail length information online when it comes to how far a family can walk with their kids using the bailouts. This blog post attempts to help in that regard.
This post is about the Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve entrance located at 1755 Martin Dairy Road in Port Orange. Other posts are done on the other entrances.
At this entrance of Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve you can take the kids on a nice hike. The entire trail loop is around 6 miles, much too long to take children on. But there are "bailouts" along the way, so you can shorten the walk and circle back to the parking lot. That's what we did. My kids (elementary school) are usually good for a 2-3 mile hike, so that's what I try to stick to. At this entrance of the park you have a few options, which I will outline here.
As you head to the beginning of the trail you will have a choice to go left or right. Here's what you will find in each direction:
- If you head left you will go into the trail that is open to bikers and hikers. There are people on bikes that come by once in a while, so you do have to move to the side when they are coming up. The trail is great and includes walking through the woods, has many winding curves, goes near the river, and has a lot to see. It's a wonderful trail. There are a lot of roots and vegetation, and is not suitable for a stroller. If you head down this trail and use "bailout A" to circle back to the parking lot you will have walked around 1.30 miles total. If you continue on and use "bailout B" to circle back to the parking lot you will walk around 2.5 miles total. We didn't go on to bailout C, as it was getting hot and that was a good hike length for our kids. The bailout signs are kind of pointing away from the trail, so when you see the post just look at it to see what bailout you are at.
- If you head to the right from the begining of the trail you will see that horses are allowed down that trail. We didn't see any that day, but they can go on that trail. Bikes can as well, but we were the only people on this trail in any form. This trail offers two wonderful options. As you walk about a quarter of a mile back you will come to a spot where you can go left or right. If you head to the right you will go back to "Oxbow Overlook." This is half a mile back, so if you just walk to that and back to the parking lot you will have just over a mile walk. If you keep going and not turn to take the path to Oxbow Overlook you will head back to "Sunset Bluff." This is another 1.1 miles back from that point. If you take that walk it will be around a 2.5 mile hike round trip. Do both destinations, as we did, and it's around around a 3 mile hike round trip.
Heading back to Oxbow Overlook and Sunset Bluff is great. The trails are wider, but there is a lot of soft sand, so it's a bit harder to walk in. Plus, you are walking on an incline to go back there, so it's slightly more vigorous. Once you reach each destination though you will be pleasantly surprised at the beautiful view! There is a wonderful view overlooking the river and marsh. Loved it!
The trails are shaded nicely, so you don't have to worry about sun exposure as much. However, take some bug spray with you. There were a lot of mosquitoes and deer flies that were biting. At first we were being attacked, but once we put No Bite Me Cream on we were fine. Neither of the trails seem suitable for a stroller. My friend that was with us carried her one-year-old in a wearable carrier. Also, always take water with you.
At least on this portion of the trail area there are no picnic tables. There is one portable toilet in the parking lot, which I had to use (darn it), but was surprised that it was really clean (thank goodness).
My husband is excited about going back there to bike ride. People do bike ride there, but you really need a good mountain bike and the ability to ride on such a rough and root-ridden terrain. Not something I would ever do, but I saw several guys doing it.
This is a great free place to take the kids on a hike. If you have company in town, depending on their hiking ability, take them back to Oxbow Overlook and/or Sunset Bluff. Both are beautiful and well worth the hike back there.
Here are some pictures I took this week at Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve in Port Orange (Martin Dairy Road entrance):
The first set of pictures is from taking the trail going left from the beginning (the one that has the bailouts that circle back to the parking lot):
The pictures below are ones take heading back to Sunset Bluff:
(Above: If you come across a snake keep in mind they would rather not have anything to do with you. Calmly walk around it and keep going. No big deal.)
Here are the pictures going back to the Oxbow Overlook: