While at Palmetto State Park, we decided to hike some of the trails. I was nursing some blisters, so I did not want to walk too far, so we kept our hike to under 3 miles.
We began at the Canebreak Spur trail located between sites 9 and 11 in our campground (see map). This one-eighth mile trail soon connected us with the longer San Marcos River Trail; however, we only stayed on this trail for a brief distance before we veered off on the 1 mile Mesquite Flats Trail.
This trail varies from woodland/swamp
terrain to open prairie with mesquite trees; thus the name, Mesquite Flats. It
should have been called Doodle Bug Flats because of the thousands of doodle
bugs that were on the trail.
|The Canebreak Spur Trail is typical of all trails in the park. All have crushed stone surface.|
|All trails have good signs at junctions.|
|Wildflowers line the trail through the mesquite flats on the Mesquite Flats trail.|
After leaving the first stretch of open prairie, or mesquite flats, the trail plunges back into the woodlands to follow a creek, which it finally crosses on a sturdy metal bridge. All bridges we crossed were in good repair and very sound.
|Metal bridge over creek that feeds into the San Marcos River. Most foot bridges in the park are wooden.|
|Rustic bench along the trail.|
At the end of one mile, the trail intersected with the Ottine Swamp Trail, another 1 mile long trail. This trail wound through more swampy terrain, although some of the area has dried up, a result of the prolonged drought, I suppose.
Near the end of this trail, it appears to lead onto a park
road near a gate. However, veer sharply right and stay on the trail, which
parallels the park road. It will eventually cross the road about a fourth mile
farther on. When it does cross, you can see the San Marcos River and the low
|Immediately upon entering the Ottine Swamp Trail, we crossed a section of the swamp on this boardwalk.|
|Good example of the swamp. Notice the wooden fence post and wire near the center of the picture. I would not like to have been the person who put this fence line through here.|
|View of the San Marcos River from the place where the Ottine Swamp Trail crosses the paved park road. If you look closely, you may be able to see the low-water crossing near the top part of the river in the picture.|
|Low-water crossing on the San Marcos River. Only foot traffic may cross here. This crossing connects the two parts of the park.|
|Looking upstream from the crossing.|
|Looking downstream from the crossing. In the bare area where the river curves right, you can see buzzards roosting along the bank. There were buzzard roosts throughout the park.|