A work in progress, the paved Timucuan Trail (located north of Jacksonville) will ultimately total about 18 miles from the north at the A1A bridge from Amelia Island State Park, to the south at Kathryn Abbey Hannah Park in Mayport, including a ride on the St. Johns River Ferry. It's part of the East Coast Greenway (Maine to Key West). (Detailed map and photos below)
Bike Map... Timucuan Trail
Location: Nassau and Duval Counties
End Points: Amelia Island State Park, Big Talbot State Park, Little Talbot State Park, Fort George Island
Mileage: 6.5 miles, 18 when complete
Surface: 10-12 feet, paved
Nearby points of interest: Kingsley Plantation, Fort Caroline, St. Johns River Ferry
At the north end, parking is available at the end of the A1A bridge (Sawpit Creek Boat Ramp), across the road from the trail - or park at Amelia Island State Park and ride over the bridge. The trail starts out as a long boardwalk, then runs through Big Talbot Island State Park - scenic, paved, some sections alongside the roadway. There are several trail parking areas along A1A with access to hiking trails. Trail ends at Big Pine Trail - eventually will continue on to Little Talbot Island, but for now ride on the bike lane on A1A.
A gap remains, then the trail resumes at Little Talbot Island State Park, running on a wide bike lane along the park road. It cuts over to the bridge at Fort George Inlet, and crosses to Fort George Island. Timucuan Trail over Fort George River bridge - we like the divider! Trail ends over the bridge, eventually it will run to the St. Johns's River Ferry pier, onto the ferry across the St. Johns River to Mayport, ending at Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park.
Kingsley Plantation on Fort George Island is part of the National Park Service's Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve. The plantation house built in 1798 is one of the oldest in Florida, and is the former estate of Zephaniah Kingsley who lived there 1814-37 with his multi-racial family - a slave owner, yet his wife Anna was a former slave whom he emancipated under Spanish rule at the time. It's an interesting story too long to tell here, here's an excellent article by Bonnie Gross at FloridaRambler.com with more details. Today visitors can learn about life on a plantation and the treatment of slaves while exploring the plantation house, remains of the slave quarters (25 slave cabins), barn, waterfront, kitchen house, gardens, and grounds. The house is located along the Fort George River, the main source of transportation and commerce at the time.
In addition to Kingsley Plantation, the Preserve covers 6,000 years of history dating from early Timucua Indian inhabitants. Fort Caroline National Memorial is a remnant of the short-lived French presence in the 16th century. This is a little-known place, well worth the visit. Admission is free.
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