McQuage Bayou Trail Rebirth Provides Access to Point Washington Ecosystem
August 6, 2017 by Manny Chavez
SoWal hikers, bikers, and equestrians are thankful that the McQuage Bayou Trail is once again open for business.
Formerly used primarily by equestrians (horizontal posts still exist for tying up ol’ Trigger), the newly improved trail was officially re-opened with a Florida Forest Service event July 21, 2017.
Florida Forest Service Mitigation Specialist Hannah Bowers and Point Washington State Forest Forester Michael Klassen were excited to show off the site as they walked the pathway near the new bridge that was constructed to allow access to the western portion of the trail. Prior to July 21, this portion had been closed to the public due to two deteriorated bridges along the route.
Now, with major improvements to the bridges, the trails themselves, and the refurbished trailhead, the 9.5mile multi-use trail (3.7 miles to the east and 5.8 miles to the west), offers family-friendly opportunities for outdoorsy enjoyment. Click here for McQuage Bayou Trail Map >
Several picnic tables (some covered) and barbeque grills dot the landscape near the trailhead parking area. This year’s rainy summer conditions have made the trails a bit more challenging, so be sure to prepare for occasional muddy hiking or biking conditions. Bug spray is a must and be sure to take along plenty of water. The use of ATVs is prohibited.
The McQuage Bayou Trail, along with the Eastern Lake and Longleaf Greenway Trail, are part of Point Washington State Forest and are managed by the Florida Forest Service. These trails offer excellent examples of intact sandhill ecosystems. A variety of threatened or endangered plants or animals can be spotted along these trails. Included are the gopher tortoise, flatwoods salamander, white-topped pitcher plant, and the world’s largest population of Curtiss sandgrass. Of course, if you venture out early morning or late afternoon, you are more likely to come across a deer, cayote, bear, snake, owl, or possum along these trails.
The day use cost for accessing McQuage Bayou Trail is $2/vehicle and is good for that day from sunrise to sunset. The “Iron Ranger,” a self-service pay station located at the trailhead parking area, allows for people to slip their day use fee into a slotted metal receptacle. Annual passes for use at any Florida State Forest ($45), can be obtained online at www.floridastateforests.org/memberships .
Future improvements to McQuage Bayou Trail include the addition of a concrete vault restroom structure that will probably be located near the trailhead and will be a permanent facility.
This is the 25-year anniversary for Point Washington State Forest, so keep the good outdoor vibes going and lace up your hiking boots, pump up those bike tires, or saddle up for more fun on the trail… McQuage is up and running! For further information, please call 850-267-8325, or visit www.freshfromflorida.com . Location: North from Grayton Beach at 452 County Rd. 283 North (Bay Drive), just .2 miles north of Hwy. 98 East.