Florida Nature

Scenic Hikes

Paynes Creek

A Historic State Park in Bowling Green

Well, fall is around the corner, and John and I decided it was time to get back on the hiking trails. Because of the summer heat, John and I have been off the trail for about 3 months now. We love hiking, but I can’t take hiking when the heat index is in the triple digits.

After being off the trail for that amount of time, our fitness level had definitely dropped, and we knew that we would not have the ability to hike a long strenuous trail. Luckily we found the perfect trail to ease back into a pastime we love.

Paynes Creek Historic State Park is a beautiful state park with scenic easy trails on the banks of Paynes Creek and The Peace River. The Park is tucked away in Bowling Green, Florida, and If you are not familiar with where Bowling Green is, don’t feel bad; you are not alone; I had to look it up too!! Bowling Green, Florida, is located in Hardee County, about 90 minutes or so, southeast of Tampa.

Hikers will be in for a real treat because not only are the trails very scenic but very interesting too. The park is called a historic park because of the surrounding land’s importance in the American – Seminole Indian Wars. Landmarks of this turbulent time are well marked along the trail, and hikers can read up on a little history while enjoying their day out on the trail.

The park was once home to Fort Chokonikla and the Kennedy Darling Trading Post and along the trail are markers explaining the significance of these sites. Visitors should be sure to stop in at the visitors center to learn more about the area and the Seminole Indians who called this beautiful part of Florida home.

A Video View

There are several trails at Paynes Creek Historic State Park altogether, totaling about 3 miles, and most of them are less than 1 mile in length. The trails consist of hard-packed dirt or sand with some boardwalks along the way. There were no roots to climb over. There are many shaded areas along the hike—a perfect hike for beginning hikers or anyone who enjoys getting out into Florida’s beautiful wooded nature.

Picnic facilities, a playground area, and restrooms are provided.

Paynes Creek Historic State Park is located at 888 Lake Branch Road in Bowling Green, Florida. The entrance fee is $3 per carload.

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