In early January, Papa Stumbles and I explored a section of the Florida Trail in the Corbett WMA near West Palm Beach, FL. It is a different environment than the Everglades and Francis S. Taylor WMA that I reviewed last year. If you have a few hours (or a few days) and want to get to know one of south Florida's wilder areas, this is a great place for it. Come prepared, and you'll have a nice time.
We intended to hike part of the one-way, orange-blazed 9.7 mile section of the Florida Trail described (in reverse order) here. Unfortunately, our enthusiasm did not make up for our inadequate attire. One often brushes up against the plants and encounters spider webs. Wear pants. This is also a marshy environment, often muddy and entirely submerged in places. Wear shoes that can get wet. We lacked both, and decided to turn back at several points rather than press forward.
|Another soggy "dead end" for the ill-equipped.|
Before You Go. Hunting is allowed in the WMA during parts of the year. Check the website in advance to make sure you are hiking in a non-hunting zone.
Getting Started. Immediately upon entering the WMA, you'll notice orange blazes on the road. Click here for Google directions to the WMA entrance.
This is part of the Florida Trail, but walking along the road isn't the most exciting thing. Officially, the trail section begins at the parking area next to the Hungryland Boardwalk. (Follow signs from the entrance.) However, you won't be able to make it very far before encountering a large pond that you'll have to hike through. Therefore, I recommend driving approximately 0.75 miles along Stumpers Grade Road until the orange blazes disappear. Here, the trail turns away from the road and you can get going.
|Unofficial parking spot shortly before the Florida Trail turns off Stumpers Grade Road.|
The trail will "dead end" at the prairie/pond. It actually doesn't end - you are supposed to wade across! In the alternative, you can take the Wetlands Bypass trail, which is white-blazed, to the left.
The Wetlands Bypass doesn't bypass all wetlands - just that pond/prairie. Soon, you'll come to another marshy end. You can push through and keep going, or turn back to the road.
Florida Trail, Take 2. If you want to stay relatively dry, head back to the car and drive another 0.5 miles to the "Trail" #7, which turns off to the right. This isn't a trail so much as another road that hunters and AWDs use. Walk or drive on down. The road ends at another pond, but you'll intersect the Florida Trail shortly before the pond and can explore the orange-blazed route in either direction for a while.
Public Service Announcement
Seriously, if it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to leave. And please, Leave No Trace.
This is one of more than 15 camping areas in the Corbett WMA. During the right time of year (read: not mosquito season), this could be a nice place to pitch a tent by the car for a night.
|Route-finding / exploring.|