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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-Mapped by Eli Schelin


Trail Facts

  • Distance: 8.5



Location: 30.7037696838379, -81.4523086547852

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


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


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


Location: 30.6785507202148, -81.4342727661133

Stay L; head S on forested trail


Location: 30.6746692657471, -81.4350509643555

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


Location: 30.6942291259766, -81.4400405883789

Continue N on main trail @ 4-way


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.


Location: 30.7024002075195, -81.4500198364258

Stay straight on main trail @ 4-way


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


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