A Treasure Trove of Hiking Trails Near North Palm Beach

By on September 25, 2019
Hiking Trails

North Palm Beach may not be the biggest city in South Florida, but it certainly boasts some of the most breathtaking sights. There’s a reason why North Palm Beach has been dubbed “The Best Place to Live Under the Sun.” From the sparkling waters and lush greenery to nearby hiking trails, there’s something for everybody – even those with chronic pain.

In 2016, an estimated 50 million U.S. adults suffered chronic pain, with nearly 20 million suffering restrictions from daily life due to it. For trail lovers, active hikers, or those who simply love to explore the great outdoors, this type of pain can feel limiting. However, many are surprised to learn that getting in hours of physical activity, like a walk down the trail, can be incredibly beneficial; helping to improve physical function, pain severity, and subsequently, quality of life.

Before exploring a new trail, consider the benefits of getting back outdoors. Check out these must-see hiking trails near North Palm Beach and discover why the small village truly has “everything under the sun.”

1. Riverbend Park

You could go to Riverbend Park every single day for a week and likely see something new each visit. Composed of 15 miles of interconnected trails and roads, Riverbend Park features broad walkways made of compacted limestone. Its meandering pathways venture through 665 acres of preserved land which is home to a myriad of South Florida’s wildlife. From swallow-tailed hawks to Florida gators and turtles canopied under thick greenery, local wildlife is abundant in this protected land.

The tropical park is split by the Loxahatchee River, making freshwater fishing, canoe and kayaking access available. In addition to hiking trails, Riverbend Park is also home to equestrian trails. No matter your fancy, you’ll always find something to do in the lush park. For those choosing to hike, be sure to stop and read the marked signs throughout the trails. Part of the park was also the Loxahatchee Battlefield, home to two Seminole War battles in 1838.

A land both ecologically and historically rich, Riverbend Park is ideal for hikers of all ages, including those currently suffering chronic pain. A slow walk under the shady trees might be just what the doctor ordered.

2. Satinleaf Trail

If you’re looking for a trail that’s kid-friendly and suitable for your four-legged friends, look no further than Satinleaf Trail. A brief 0.3 mile, moderately trafficked loop trail, Satinleaf offers scenic views and is ideal for all skill levels. Most locals head to the trail for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching. Since the trail is open year-round, it’s fascinating to watch the wildlife evolve as the seasons change. Bring along your dog for a brisk walk around the loop – just be sure to keep them on a leash.

Located along picturesque A1A just west of North Palm Beach, Satinleaf Trail is also an easy way to become oriented with the tropical habitats that continue along the much larger John D. MacArthur Beach State Park. If you’re a more experienced hiker, consider heading to Satinleaf Trail for a bit of warm-up to get your blood pumping before making your way to the State Park.

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3. John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

John D. MacArthur Beach State Park is a barrier island paradise protecting rare plant and animal habitats in South Florida. A unique ecosystem, a barrier island is a long, narrow, offshore deposit of sand or sediment that parallels the coastline, separated from the mainland by a shallow bay or lagoon. An oasis unlike anything else near North Palm Beach, John D. MacArthur Beach combines a coastal and tropical hammock and mangrove forest, providing a haven for several rare or endangered native tropical and coastal plant species.

Visitors of the park can swim, snorkel, or surf at the beach, anglers can fish in the lagoon by wading or kayaking. Take the family for a picnic on the beach, or try your hand at bird watching. A careful eye can spot gulls, sandpipers, brown pelicans, roseate spoonbills, and herons. From March 1 through October 31, keep an eye out for baby sea turtles crawling their way to the water during the annual sea turtle nesting season.

For hikers looking for new sights, the park has two self-guiding nature trails. Visitors can hike among stately trees, thick beds of ferns, and flowering shrubs, including the exotic mixture of subtropical trees shielding Dune Hammock Trail from the strong South Florida sun.

4. Grassy Waters Preserve

As you drive your car to the entrance of Grassy Waters Preserve, it might be hard to imagine the area was once a part of the northern Everglades watershed and headwaters of the Loxahatchee River. Approximately 24 square miles of protected natural land, Grassy Waters Preserve is composed of the Water Catchment Area along with other adjacent lands located and owned by the City of West Palm Beach. Currently, it remains the principal source of the water for West Palm Beach, Palm Beach, and South Palm Beach.

The preserve is almost 50 percent of the land and contains miles of hiking and biking trails, a currently expanding nature center, and a boardwalk. From the moment you step foot in Grassy Waters Preserve, you’ll see why it was named such. A shimmering sheet of sawgrass cranes skyward, blanketing the sides of wooden boardwalks and trails. Head to Grassy Waters Preserve for a hike that feels like a trip back in time. After your hike, stop by the nature center where the city provides environmental education programs.

5. Frenchman’s Forest Natural Area

For a full day of fun, head out to Frenchman’s Forest Natural Area. A 172-acre natural area, the wet, low-lying lands were once part of the headwaters of Lake Worth Creek. Over 200 plant species and 500 animal species call this site home, including manatees, gopher tortoises, red-shouldered hawks, and the famed great horned owl. Wander along with the observation platform overlooking the tidal swamp or take a walk along the boardwalk through the cypress swamp before embarking on your hike.

Frenchman’s Forest contains four trails:

  • Blazing Star Trail, 0.4 miles
  • Archie’s Creek Trail, 0.6 miles
  • Staggerbush Trail, 0.6 miles
  • Saw Palmetto Trail, 1.3 miles

All trails are sandy, with the exception of the Blazing Star Trail, which is paved. For those suffering chronic pain, this trail may be the best suited for you. Walking through sand places more stress on the ankles and knees, which makes the spine work overtime to try and balance. The overall result can mean aches and pains once your hike is complete. In comparison, the paved Blazing Star Trail offers a smooth, consistent surface that won’t irritate the back and joints.

Hiking with Chronic Pain

Before exploring a new trail, remember that a few hours of physical activity a day, a walk down the trail can offer a plethora of health benefits. Take the first step in improving your quality of life by lowering pain severity and improving physical function – all it takes is taking those steps outside. From John D. MacArthur Beach to Frenchman’s Forest Natural Area, discover all of North Palm Beach’s hidden hiking treasures. 

 

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A Treasure Trove of Hiking Trails Near North Palm Beach