Collier Seminole State Park Naples Florida
Driving east on US 41 is favorite pass time for me just because of the visual quietness of it all. It is not unlike me to load up the Dill, the fearless Min Pin, to see where the road will take us. A few weeks back I headed out with that very mission in mind and rediscovered the fun little escape of Collier Seminole State Park.
The main portion of the park offers a great exhibit of one of the original Bay City Walking Dredge machines used to build US 41, which connected Tampa to Miami back in 1920’s. In case you were not aware, the word Tamiami is a combination of the two city names.You will find Collier Seminole State Park about nine miles east of Collier Blvd. (951) on US 41 where it meets San Marco Road. There are a few locations to access the 7,200-acre park so it would be a good idea to Google before you go. The main entrance with the ranger station is just south of San Marco Road and that is where you pay to enter to use the boat ramp as well as pay the trail use and campsites fees located in other locations.
The focus of the trip was to hike the trail that’s located about seven-hundred feet north of the main entrance. A few years back, I gave it a whirl near the end of rainy season and was nearly drained by mosquitos. It was misery. It made me wonder how tough that dredging crew must have been to put up with mosquitos because I was a quitter, with no regret, in record time.
The Old Marco Road trail is nice and fairly flat hike but it’s not exactly a breeze. It’s about four miles in length so eat your Wheaties before you go and bring enough water. Since we have had a few rain showers, the prairies had greened up and there were fields chock full of thistle, coreopsis, tassel flower and Spanish needle wildflowers. Naturally, the flowers attracted the pollinators so there were plenty of honeybees and butterflies to be seen. I was thrilled to have been able to capture photos of a both a Checkered Skipper and the spastic, Julia butterfly.
This trail is fun because of the varying types of vegetation and great scenery at every turn. The sheer windiness of the path made it a fun walk and kept us on our toes. We did see more people than expected. There were mountain bikers, runners and walkers, a hand full of them had dogs in tow. There were a few gators in a marshy area along the trail so keep that in mind if you bring your dog.
In all, it was a great place to hike and it tuckered out Dill, which is hard to do. He was asleep as soon as we were in the car. On the drive home, I realized that we had had a full circle sort of day on that trail. After the loss of my last dog of eighteen years, I applied with a rescue hoping to get a recycled dog. I was actually moping at Collier Seminole State Park when the rescue called to let me know that I had finally been approved to adopt and that they had a black and tan troublemaker set aside for me in Port Charlotte. The rest, as they say, is history.
If you would like to blaze trails at Collier Seminole State Park you can learn more at www.floridastateparks.org/collierseminole.
Happy trails and boardwalks!
This article is special to the Southwest Spotlight. Find all park reviews at www.LifeInBonitaSprings.com/parks