Jacksonville, FL: Fort Clinch Loop

Massive sand dunes, scenic side trips, and a historic fort highlight this mellow 5.3-mile loop on Florida's northernmost barrier island.
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Massive sand dunes, scenic side trips, and a historic fort highlight this mellow 5.3-mile loop on Florida's northernmost barrier island.

-Mapped by Eli Schelin

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 8.5

Waypoints

FCL001

Location: 30.7037696838379, -81.4523086547852

From Fort Clinch parking area, head E on unpaved path; trail parallels park road as it curves to SE

FCL002

Location: 30.6941509246826, -81.4395217895508

Straight @ 4-way. Side trip: Paved road on L leads to camping area and .5-mi. fishing pier overlooking Atlantic's dark waters

FCL003

Location: 30.6826591491699, -81.4349136352539

Stay L; continue S on paved road that weaves in and out of forest; skirt edge of steep, windblown sand dunes

FCL004

Location: 30.6785507202148, -81.4342727661133

Stay L; head S on forested trail

FCL005

Location: 30.6746692657471, -81.4350509643555

Cross paved park road @ loop's southernmost point and turn R; head N through mixed forest

FCL006

Location: 30.6942291259766, -81.4400405883789

Continue N on main trail @ 4-way

FCL007

Location: 30.6985206604004, -81.4436874389648

Continue N on main trail @ 3-way at Willow Pond loop trails. If you decide to take this side trail (about 2.5 miles) look for roseate spoonbill, wood stork, great egret, white ibis, and alligators.

FCL008

Location: 30.7024002075195, -81.4500198364258

Stay straight on main trail @ 4-way

FCL009

Location: 30.7034301757812, -81.4529190063476

Complete loop @ parking area. Recommended: Cross lot to explore historic Fort Clinch, a military post used during the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and World War II

Trailhead

Location: 30.7038135528564, -81.4518203735352

The trail is shared with mountain bicyclists. For safety reasons, the bicycle trail is designed as a one-way system running counter-clockwise. © Eli Schelin

Trail through canopy

Location: 30.6996479034424, -81.4432907104492

The trail is heavily forested with scrub oak, pine, and hardwood oak hammocks and traverses ancient dunes that are steep and challenging. The canopy provides relief from the sun. © Eli Schelin

Oil House and watch tower

Location: 30.697868347168, -81.4412689208984

Remains of oil house and watch tower used to service three range beacons that helped ships navigate into the Cumberland Sound during the 1800's. © Eli Schelin

Salt Marsh Grassland

Location: 30.6877593994141, -81.4384765625

The park is a peninsula that is surrounded by salt water on three sides. These coastal grasslands run along the shore where they meet the hammocks. © Eli Schelin

Fiddler crabs scatter in Egan Creek

Location: 30.6874351501465, -81.4381484985352

Egan Creek flows under the road. On the east side of the road watch the fiddler crabs scatter as your shadow passes. © Eli Schelin

Amelia Island Lighthouse

Location: 30.6837959289551, -81.4360885620117

Amelia Island Lighthouse dates back to 1838 and is the only remaining lighthouse from Florida's period as a U.S. Territory.© Eli Schelin

Huge Dunes

Location: 30.6793479919434, -81.4339065551758

The park has many large sand dunes which are thought to be some of the largest in Florida. © Eli Schelin

Maritime Hammock

Location: 30.6777305603027, -81.4349594116211

Good example of the maritime hammock found in the park. Maritime hammocks are customary along parts of the Gulf and Atlantic coasts often at the edge of salt marshes. © Eli Schelin

Red Bay tree

Location: 30.6760711669922, -81.4347915649414

Large red bay tree found in maritime hammocks along with live oak, elm, cabbage palm, cedar, beech, and sweet gum. ©Eli Schelin