Turkey Creek Nature Trail - Hiking

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About

Summary

The serene beauty of Turkey Creek Nature Trail is a must-see for nature enthusiasts in Niceville, Florida. A perfect spot for a leisurely walk and a breath of fresh air, the public trail offers a tranquil wooded stroll and plenty of bird watching opportunities.

Written by

Amy Lynch

Distance

1.8 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

46.7 miles

Difficulty

1 of 5 diamonds

This built boardwalk is meant for an easy, level hike, 1.8 miles in each direction.

Time To Complete

1 hours

A straight walk down the trail and back will take about an hour and a half without stops, but be sure to take in the view at the lookout points scattered along the trail. Tubing is also permitted in case you've got time on your hands and want to take a dip at any of the drop-in points along the water.

Seasonality

All Seasons

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

Fees Permits

No

Review

Intro

The highways and byways of Northwest Florida aren’t just a way to get from here to there, they’re also portals into some of the sunshine state’s lesser-known gems, like its public nature trails offering verdant glimpses underneath the region’s canopy of longleaf pines. Turkey Creek Nature Trail is a must-see location in Niceville, a small town tucked into the center of Florida’s Emerald Coast, known for its sugar white sands running alongside the bright green Gulf of Mexico. Turkey Creek, accessible from State Road 20, offers a 1.8-mile forest boardwalk built for a leisurely stroll or quick jog through the trees.

What Makes It Great

Running along a small body of water bearing the same name, Turkey Creek Nature Trail was built in the early aughts to give residents and visitors an easily-traversable path through the town’s natural wonders — namely, its tree canopy and babbling stream. The 1.8-mile raised wooden boardwalk cuts through a floodplain forest of four types of trees: Atlantic white cedar, cypress, red bay and sweetgum. Turkey Creek itself is a tannic stream that drains the sandhill forests surrounding Eglin Air Force Base. 

With a handful of put-in platforms along the path, the nature trail allows access to the stream for a cool swim or languorous tubing expedition. Before ending at a canoe landing, the trail passes a bayhead swamp, crosses the creek and forks off into a “Path of Memories” walkway to a shaded pavilion popular with families for its barbecue grills and simple beauty. Abundant with birds and almost always shaded by the trees above, the trail is a haven for eagle-eyed birdwatchers and frolicking children alike. From end to end and back again, it can be walked in about an hour and a half with an occasional pause, or run in fewer than 40 minutes by those who clock a 10-minute mile.

Who is Going to Love It

Birdwatchers in particular will be delighted by the dozen or more prothonotary warblers who spend their spring, summer and fall in the forest, as well as the swallow-tailed kites, northern cardinals and woodpeckers often seen by visitors. Anyone looking for an hour or two of natural respite, though, will appreciate the shade, the stream and the easy comfort of the boardwalk itself.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Just west of State Road 85 in Niceville, the main entrance to Turkey Creek Nature Trail can be found on SR 20 (W John Sims Pkwy) immediately before the Turkey Creek bridge. Run by the City of Niceville, it's open to the public and free of charge to enter. Bathrooms are available onsite. 

Location

Turkey Creek Nature Trail

340 W John Sims Pkwy
Niceville, FL, 32578
30.52361, -86.49812

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