Golden Orb Trail – Long Key State Park, Florida

June 22, 2012
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Distance: 1.2 mile loop

Difficulty: Easy

 

The Golden Orb Trail, named after the native, Golden Orb Spider, is a 1.2 mile long hiking loop through a five very different ecosystems on Long Key.

Beginning along a boardwalk next to the visitor parking area, the trail first walks over a section of mangroves and very shallow water. After less than a hundred yards, an observation tower on the right will take hikers to a view over the short mangrove forest.

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After descending the observation tower, the trail continues down the boardwalk before making a left to the true trailhead of the Golden Orb Trail.

Golden Orb Trail Long Key

From here, the trail is sandy for duration of the loop. The trail initially continues through a tunnel of mangroves on the left and right with occasional views of the ocean on the right.

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BEWARE: THIS TRAIL IS EXTREMELY BUGGY.

Despite applying deep woods bug spray thirty minutes before the hike, I sustained nearly 50 bug bites on this trail.

Before bending to the left along the contours of the key, the trail also provides some beautiful views of wildflowers, as well as numerous hiding holes for the local crabs to scamper in and out of.

As the trail bends to the left, wider views of the nearby ocean open up, along with a few sightings of waterfowl.

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The trail then quickly banks back to the left again and descends into an even more dense section of mangroves for a short distance.

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Suddenly,however, the mangroves seem to disappear into an open terrain of sand and short shrubbery. If it wasn’t for the occasional shallow puddle crossings, this section of the hike feels like a desert.

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After the “desert section”, the hike changes one more time for its finale. The last section is a mostly pine forest. The trail ends on the other side of the parking area where the boardwalk began.

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Directions:

1. Long Key State Park is located on the left just past mile marker 68 on the overseas highway.

2. The visitor parking lot is on the left just past the entrance station and canoe trail sign post.

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One Response to Golden Orb Trail – Long Key State Park, Florida

  1. Pole on July 11, 2012 at 12:03 am

    Nice stuff! Keep up the work on posts like this….enjoyed it.

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