Created By: Town of Juno Beach
(This West Tract is most easily accessible by car from U.S. 1, a half mile north of Donald Ross Road.)
Juno Beach has two natural areas that are unique in South Florida, not only because of their 569 acre size but because they preserve 12 distinct natural ecosystems with plants, insects, and animals adapted to each.
Stop at the information kiosk that’s right by the parking entrance. It has lots of interesting photos, maps and documents that explain some of the diverse discoveries that you will find. Pick up a brochure. By the way, a morning walk is preferable as most of the trails are unshaded.
Just a short distance along the easy Sawgrass Nature Trail, you’ll be surrounded by a variety of small oak trees. Moving further along, you’ll see that our coastal forest gets taller. Soon, you’ll come to an elevated boardwalk leading you through the seasonal marsh with its ferns, willows, and noisy crickets. At its end, you reach a shaded observation platform.
If you venture beyond that and follow the longer Scrub Oak Hiking Trail, with its white sugar sand, you’ll enter a very different environment of pine forest. See if you can find any gopher tortoises as they crunch through the brush. You might even spot one of the entrances to their homes in burrows which can be as much as 12 feet deep and 40 feet long! Gopher tortoises are referred to as a keystone species because they share their burrows with other animals, including indigo snakes, Florida mice, gopher frogs, and even burrowing owls. These tortoises are considered threatened; they and their burrows are protected under state law.
If you continue further west, you’ll reach the Intracoastal Waterway. There you will find a public boat dock and a two-story observation platform. By creating this cove for boaters, the County also created an expanded habitat for mangroves as well as adding acres of seagrasses.
If you take the time to stroll through these trails, you’ll be amazed at how diverse this natural environment is, starting with rough looking coastal scrub and becoming a mosaic of wetlands, forests and dunes.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Discover Juno Beach