Date Visited: 12/31/2019
Standing as the focal point in this 5600-acre state park is one of the largest Live Oak trees in the South. The Fairchild oak is estimated to be between 400-600 years old and is a member of one of the largest remaining stands of Southern Live Oak forest along Florida’s East Coast.
There are many rumors and myths that surround this 78′ tall, 8′ wide giant, including a possible suicide (or murder) resulting in tales of haunting spirits and aberrations, none of which we could find evidence to confirm, but what we can confirm is that this massive old-timer is one sight to behold.
The state park also boasts two hiking trails and is a favorite spot for locals to stretch their legs and breath the crisp clean air that only being immersed in nature can provide.
The first Trail is the Wahlin trail. It is a short .3-mile loop trail that begins near the Fairchild oak and winds down to a small ravine behind the tree. You will cross a boardwalk where a seepage stream resides and if your very lucky you may spot one of the many mammals that call this park home, such as deer, bobcat, and racoons.
We visited after a rain and the trail was quite muddy in some spots, but this isn’t always the case, so we are told.
The second trail is a 6.8-mile trail that runs between the park and the Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park. On this trail you will pass through pine uplands, oak hammocks and salt marsh. There are entry points along the Walter Boardman Lane for those who would rather take a shorter out and back hike.
The southern portion of the trail follows a Native American footpath that later became a plantation road between the Ormond and Bulow Plantations in the 1800s.
The birding opportunities at this park are fantastic. The area is home to many migratory birds in the winter and a host of native species throughout the year, so definitely bring your camera, binoculars, and central Florida birding list as you’ll be sure to check off quite a few depending on the time of year. I found a great list and loads of information here: https://cfbw.wordpress.com/bird-list/
If a shorter hike is what you are after, I recommend taking the trail north from the parking lot off of Walter Boardman Lane to the pond trail and the observation platform that overlooks Boardman Pond.
Also note that with over 1500-acres of this park submerged it is a breeding ground for mosquitos, so along with that sunscreen and water, bring your repellant.
We really enjoyed our visit to this small, but popular state park and hope you find the time to check it out too.
You can read a history of the property on the Florida State Parks website: https://www.floridastateparks.org/learn/history-bulow-creek
Next week, we visit the manatees at Blue Springs State Park. Until then… Take care and enjoy the journey!
Bulow Creek State Park 3351 Old Dixie Hwy. Ormond Beach, FL 32174 386-676-4050 Website
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