Visiting Florida's state parks and beyond in our Roadtrek. This is how we saw it all. Hopefully, the posts will give you some useful information. Questions and comments are welcome.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Side Trip to Ten Thousand Island's Marsh Trail

About 3 miles east of Collier-Seminole State Park on the Tamiami Trail is a marsh trail.  We stopped for a brief visit on our way home.  In the area are 3 canoe/kayak trails into the marsh and a couple of boat tour companies.  One an air-boat and one a pontoon type boat.

On this day we just walked about a quarter mile to the observation deck.  On the left the path turns to a gravel/sand service road to the to the end of a finger of land and some government instrumentation.  We didn't see much wildlife, but a longer stay and a hiking to the end of the trail would certainly produce more possibilities.  Next time.

Views from the tower.


Views from the trail.

Florida's Collier-Seminole State Park

A few miles east of Naples on the Tamiami Trail, this park lies partly within the great mangrove swamp of southern Florida.  The park offers rv camping, tent camping, a .9 mile nature trail, a 6.5 mile hiking trail, a 3.5 mile biking/hiking trail, canoeing/kayaking, and fishing.

The rv camping loop is divided into three sub-loops, all with new water and electric (50/30/20).  The loop roads were recently paved and a new bathhouse built. All sites are level gravel,m and partially shaded.  Some are pretty close together, others have a fair amount of space in between.  Only a few have foliage on the sides.  There are only three pull-thru sites. Really a nice park. A completely separate loop is tenting only. And, there is also a group tenting area.

A view of the center area of the two larger sub-loops. Home to squirrels and dove.  There is a pair of red-shouldered hawks that make their home in one of the trees. Beautiful birds. A relaxing place to sit in the morning or evening. The park is located in one of three great stands of Royal Palms in Florida.

At the entrance to the campground stands the Blockhouse.  Patterned after blockhouses used in the third Seminole War it was home to the park caretakers.  Today it is a visitor center with interpretive displays.

Inside - the ground floor.  More displays are to be added.  Beautiful wood.

Not too far away is a reproduction of a Seminole village.  Here is a reproduction of a Seminole dug out canoe.

Near the ranger station is the last Bay City Walking Dredge in existence.  It was used to dredge the swamp between Naples and Miami (Tamiami Trail) to complete the Tampa-Miami connection. This was a project of land owner Barron Collier.

The drive mechanism to operate the dredge.

The Barron Collier memorial stands on the edge of a huge grassy field near the park entrance.  Barron Collier, an advertising tycoon and land developer owned nearly a million acres of land in southwest Florida. In 1923 it became Collier County. In 1947, 7,271 acres was donated to create Collier-Seminole State Park.  This open grassy area is a great opportunity to stargaze.


A short walk from the campground is the boat basin.  You can fish here, and/or enjoy the adjacent park and playground that has pavilions, rest rooms and playground equipment.

 Canoes are available for rent or bring your own and paddle down the Blackwater River which begins here and continues as a 13.5 mile canoe trail through the marsh to Blackwater Bay and Ten Thousand Islands.

At the basin you can get a good view of the marsh adjacent to the park.

The entrance to the .9 mile nature walk through a hammock also is at the basin. Mostly well shaded the trail starts out as gravel/shell trail.

Soon the path splits.  Take the left fork and immediately board the long winding, shaded  boardwalk.

When you come to a second fork, a turn to the left brings you to an observation deck on the edge of the swamp.

The key to entering the observation deck is to tiptoe.  I could hear the sounds of birds, but as I walked onto the deck all of a sudden there was a mass flapping of wings and this is all I got to see.  I'll be quieter next time.  Never saw so many large birds take off before.  A missed photo opportunity.

The marsh waters.  Clear as a bell, but brackish.

Continuing along the boardwalk, the trail returns as gravel to the entrance. A very easy, enjoyable walk in the park. There are two other more hardy trails with entrances on the Tamiami Trail. About a mile to the east of the park entrance is a 3.5 mile biking/hiking trail.  Dry most of the year it meanders through a hammock and partly the swamp.  To the west is a 6.5 mile cypress swamp trail.  This could be mostly wet depending on the season.  And, wet could mean deep water.

Other things seen:

At the beginning of the nature trail is an interesting Gumbo Limbo tree with its red bark.

Dahoon Holly dot the trail.

An interesting worms-eye view of a tree's root system is provided by a fallen tree along the way.


African Tulip Tree.  Briliant orange flowers on top of a tree at the entrance to the campground.

One of the hawks sits in a tree just above our campsite.  This was a daily occurrence, thank you.

Departing after feeding on something on the rock at site #92.  We never saw them go after the many squirrels and dove in the area, but they were catching and feasting on smaller critters, snakes and newts, with much success.

We saw an abundance of White Peacock butterflies all over the park, and...

...these Common Buckeye butterflies.

Air Garden.  Most all the trees in the campground served as a garden for air plants. Feeding off the moisture and minerals in the air currents they are surviving well.

Group sit-in at the marsh.

Sharing a branch at the basin.

An American Alligator cruising the basin.

The park greeter.  Welcome.