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“Hidden Beauty”

Paleo Hammock Preserve
Reviewed February 19, 2013 via mobile

I took my four kids here on a school holiday and we all enjoyed it. The trails are nice and open, there is a small tower to climb for a view, and there are many native plants. I was surprised at how few invasives and exotics there were compared to what I've seen in other parks. The only drawback was that the brochures available no longer match the trails which made navigation a little tricky. A sign did warn us however. I hope they get new ones made soon. We plan on going back and exploring more.

12  Thank Deb L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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7 - 9 of 9 reviews

Reviewed January 11, 2013

This is a wonderful walk. There are beautiful trees and flowers. Lots of butterflies are flying around! We even saw wild pig tracks!! Really enjoyed this!

13  Thank April D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 8, 2012

Paleo Hammock is tucked away to the West of I-95 in Saint Lucie County. When you live east of I-95, which most of us do over here on the east coast, heading west might as well feel like we’re heading into the old west. The landscape is dramatically different. And this makes the trip all the more enjoyable. The kids enjoyed spotting all of the cows and the occasional horse. Of course it’s sad to see that many of these animals are in rather poor condition, bones jetting out. But it’s interesting to realize that Southern-central Florida hasn’t been entirely paved over!

Heading West on Okeechobee you have to turn left on Carlton rd. It’s a small, winding road. The preserve itself is very easy to miss since it’s so small. When we pulled in the only person there was a guy in a USDA truck eating lunch and– sigh– listening to Rush Limbaugh. But we were undeterred! The path is very narrow; the natural plant life hugging the sides of the pathway. Early into the walk you encounter a large fallen tree that crosses the path, leaving enough room to comfortably bend down and go under. The kids and I loved it!

One aspect of the park that stood out the most to us was the incredible number and variety of butterflies present. The brochure mentions that Paleo Hammock and surrounding areas are the only places where firebush is found in its native habitat. “The bright orange, tubular flowers provide nectar for butterflies and humming birds….” Giant Swallowtail butterflies are also present; they’re attracted to the wild lime plant that grows here. We also discovered a few brilliantly colored blue and red flying insects. There are also a number of birds, particularly visible from the outlook about half way through the preserve, as well as turtles and spiders.

Generally Paleo Hammock Preserve offers a strong counter-claim to the vision of nature as “red-in-tooth-and-claw,” that nature is a hellish place. The serenity of the place and the birds quietly resting and communing, quite to the contrary, can make one envious and perhaps reluctant to return to east-of-95-civilization.

Something that makes this preserve very special is the Native American mounds. Evidently, artifacts have been found in the area dating between 7500 BC and 1000 AD. Some believe the area was lived upon by native peoples as far back as the Paleo period (12,000-8,000 BC). The largest of the mounds is difficult to discern, perhaps because it’s so large. This made it difficult to interest the kids. But the smaller mound was easier to recognize. Walking towards it you notice a small incline and “evidence of the limestone reef on which these hydric hammock ecosystems sit.” The mound is believed to have been populated from as far back as 3,000 BC until the arrival of the Spanish in 1565 AD.

23  Thank EcofeministDad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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