Cullum’s Bonita Trail at Bonita Nature Place
If you haven’t been to Cullum’s Trail in Bonita Springs you’re missing out on one of the best little trails hidden in plain sight. It’s sort of like one of those “where the locals go” places. Not long ago I invited my friend, The Fraulein, to walk the trail with me and the dogs. She’d not been to Cullum’s trail nor had she heard about it, which surprised me, since she is a full-time resident of Bonita Springs and has been in the area before. I’d previously dragged her to Bonita Nature Place to watch the bats leave the bat house at dusk so she’d been in the area. I know what you’re thinking; I sure know how to show my friends a good time.
If you’re already slacking on your new year’s resolution to exercise more this is the perfect opportunity to turn over a new leaf. The trail has a few different routes so it’s flexible in length. You can easily map out a twenty or thirty minute walk to add to you morning. The path is made of packed shell and supplemented with boardwalks over low lying areas. There are a few benches sprinkled along the way so you can take some time to enjoy the surroundings.
Cullum’s Trail is a labor of love by Cullum Hasty, a local resident who is an environmentalist and nature lover. He’s helped make this trail a reality for the residents of Bonita Springs, plus he’s still working on the expansion which is coming soon. This special trail runs along the Imperial River and offers views of old growth cypress, towering oak trees plus a huge variety of native Florida flora and fauna.
This trail features a canoe and kayak launch giving paddler’s access to the prettiest and most remote part of the Imperial River. From the launch heading east toward the back side of Nature Place the path is a fun, narrow, loosely groomed trail with a few logs to hop over and vines that swag over the path. There are also a few small valleys to cross, which hold water during the summer rainy season. The trail is marked with metal token hiking trail signs so hikers can stay the course. This is my favorite part of the trail because it is so undisturbed.
As far as accessibility, this area is not totally stroller or wheelchair friendly so keep that in mind when you plan your outing. This trail is easily doable with small kids and they’ll certainly enjoy the adventure. I’d recommend coming up with a scavenger list of items they are likely see to really engage them in the hike. A few things they’re almost guaranteed to see: Mushrooms, birds, spiders, fern, flowers, tortoise, purple berries, bees, fish/minnows and butterflies.
Cullum’s Trail is super east to get to. It’s located on Kent Road in Bonita Springs, just beyond the YMCA. When you turn on Kent Road, drive past Bonita Nature Place main entrance to the parking area for Cullum’s trail. You can’t miss it. There is no fee for parking or entry to the trail. Be sure to visit Bonita Nature Place while you’re in the area, too.
Happy Trail and Boardwalks!
This column is special to Southwest Spotlight