Friends Trail Walking Tour

Enjoy getting back to nature along this 1.75 mile hiking trail at Brooker Creek Preserve!!

Friends Trail Walking Tour


Created By: Brooker Creek Preserve Environmental Education Center

Tour Information

Welcome to the Brooker Creek Preserve, Pinellas County’s largest remaining natural area!

This audio tour takes you through the Friends Trail. It is located at the end of Lora Lane, a short drive from the Environmental Education Center. This hiking trail has been left in its natural state to minimize the impact of our presence in this area. The trail takes hikers through pine flatwood habitats, past a swamp under restoration, and eventually to the banks of Brooker Creek! Some portions of the trail may have standing water during the rainy season.

Keep in mind, there are no facilities or trash receptacles out here. We encourage you to hold on to (or pick up) any trash and dispose of it properly when you return home. Please remain on the designated hiking trail and yield to horses as you cross the horse exercise trail. In Brooker Creek Preserve, all plants and animals are protected and no feeding of wildlife is allowed. In an effort to protect the local flora and fauna, pets, bicycles, alcohol and smoking are not permitted. The trail is open from sunrise to sunset.

We hope you enjoy your walk at "Our Wildest Place"!

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

Welcome to The Friends Trail! This trail system is part of Brooker Creek Preserve, the largest remaining natural area in Pinellas County.  You may have noticed a trailhead for the horse trail here too. The exercise horse trail is fo... Read more
Here you can take a short detour over to the observation tower or walk alongside a small wetland site. You might think this wetland looks somewhat out of place…and you’re right! This wetland was planted here in 1998 as part of a mitig... Read more
The water below your feet here is collected from ditches that run along Lora Lane (the road you took to get here) and water that runs over Brooker Creek Preserve land east of here. During storm events, water collects in this system of manm... Read more
Notice the mix of pine trees, oak trees, and other tree species around you. On your left you’ll see saw palmetto, a common small evergreen palm. Palmetto berries produced by this plant are an important food source for a variety of Florida... Read more
While we would love to say Brooker Creek Preserve is pristine, this land has had a lot of human impacts over the years. Looking at historical aerial images, this land was cleared for pasture land prior to the 1970s, and then in the early 19... Read more
Wildfire is a part of Florida’s natural history and has helped shape its unique ecology. Historically, wildfire caused by lighting would spread in all directions with no one around to put it out. Over thousands of years our plants and ani... Read more
This is the main channel of Brooker Creek. The headwaters of this creek are a series of cypress domes in northwestern Hillsborough County. This channel travels 15 miles from the headwaters to Lake Tarpon and is fed by 12 other smaller cha... Read more
As you have been walking this trail, you may have noticed some small, evergreen trees with odd lumps on their leaves. These growths are particularly obvious in the summer but tend to persist throughout the winter as well. The trees? These ... Read more
You heard about the wildfire that happened here at Stop #6, but what about prescribed fire? Prescribed fires occur when land managers purposefully set the land on fire under very specific conditions. Why would we need to conduct prescribed ... Read more
You are now crossing the Exercise Horse Trail. This trail is just under 4 miles long and was designed with the local horse enthusiast in mind, it meanders through pine flatwoods and open fields. This is one of two equestrian trails availabl... Read more
Remember back to the area where the wildfire occurred? Looks a little different here huh? Not quite as open, less wildflowers, what else do you notice? This area hasn’t seen fire in a long time. As mentioned in Stop #9, when there is no f... Read more
Another small evergreen shrub that is common along this trail is the gallberry. Gallberry is a type of holly, but as its berries are black, it does not get to be called a holly. Another reason for its particular name is the fact that the be... Read more
Native Americans used many of the plants you see today for food, shelter, transportation, clothing and more.  Pine tree trunks were used to make dugout canoes for travelling on creeks and bays.  Saw palmetto and palm fronds were used as ... Read more
All around you are towering oak treess. There are several different types of oaks found in this part of the preserve, and they are very different than the types found north of Florida. Our native oaks tend to have smaller leaves that are mu... Read more
Congratulations! You have completed the Loop Trail and will exit to your right here to return to the trailhead.  We hope your walk has raised your awareness of the importance of these types of natural areas. It’s a special opportunity... Read more


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