What to Expect
Neighborhood Parks and Recreation Centers are generally short paved trails with water and facilities, unless otherwise noted.
Conservation Park Trails provide more of a nature experience than your typical Neighborhood Park trail. Though some are paved, most are primitive trails that take you through a variety of natural habitats ranging from upland pine flatwoods, to wetland swamps, to bottomland forests. Most of the Conservation Parks have amenities such as running water, restrooms, playgrounds, and manicured pathways.
Nature Preserve Trails take the nature experience up several notches. When hiking nature preserves, you will be leaving civilization behind. On a nature preserve, development is kept to a minimum to protect natural areas and wildlife. Nature preserve trailheads have small, unpaved parking lots, a fence with a walk-through entrance, and a small kiosk with trail information. Nature preserves do not have restrooms or running water. Trails are unpaved, longer with fewer trail markers, and have rougher terrain.
Trails are marked with blazes. What are blazes? Many nature preserve trails are marked a certain color, usually red, blue, or yellow. These paint markings on posts or trees are blazes and will guide you in the proper direction. If you come to an intersection, look for a blaze for what direction to hike. Always carry a map when you are hiking a nature preserve.
New to Hiking?
If you are new to hiking, we recommend getting your hiking legs at a Neighborhood Park trail, and then progress to the Conservation Parks and Nature Preserves. When hiking, always bring:
- The correct trail map for your destination
- A compass or GPS
- Plenty of drinking water
- Appropriate shoes
- Sun protection
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