Just a little over twenty minutes from Masaryktown, is a hidden gem that includes a gorgeous 1,500-foot boardwalk that takes visitors through the Pithlachascotee River wetland.
Upper Pithlachascotee River Preserve is 130 acres that was purchased by Pasco County through its Environmental Lands Acquisition and Management Program in 2008. This particular boardwalk area is surrounded by cypress trees that were fortunately spared by loggers in the 1900s.
Beautiful ferns growing within the wetland bottom brings out the contrast amongst the towering cypress trees, but the must-see when you visit the preserve is a massive cypress tree that could be over 300 years old.
When a portion of the boardwalk divides, take the boardwalk that separates to the right and continue following it to the end. I bet you the only word that you say when you see the cypress is, ‘WOW.’
Another part of the preserve is a nature trail that consists of a mixture of sandhill and upland forest. The trail takes you on a one-mile loop through large oak hammocks and directs you to either a salt marsh inlet or across a small tributary, Ryals Branch.
The preserve has a play area for the kids if you decide to make it a picnic day and when the spring and summer seasons are here, an of beautiful wildflowers embellish the garden.
Take your time on the boardwalk. There is a variety of wildlife that makes this area unique. You might see pileated woodpeckers, barred owls, salamanders or even a bobcat.
On the nature trail keep your eyes out for red-shouldered hawks, gopher tortoise, white-tailed deer, and wild turkey.
Some roads after Orange Drive to Upper Pithlachascotee River Preserve are not paved and maybe a concern for some drivers. A portion of Ryals Branch on the nature trail was not accessible when I visited, due to the increase of rain.
Call for any updates or the current condition of the trails before visiting.
Address: 17211 Lemon St, Spring Hill, FL 34610