Kissimmee River - Boney Marsh

 

One might wonder how Boney Marsh got its name. At first I though it was because of all the cow bones that are scattered along the trail. But after doing a little genealogy research, I discovered there use to be family called the Boneys that lived in these parts back in the late 1860s. Most of them can be found now in the Fort Kissimmee Cemetery located at the Avon Park Bombing Range. 

Location

Boney Marsh is located in east Highlands County about 30 miles northwest of Okeechobee, Florida. It shares its borders with the Avon Park Bombing Range to the north, Bluff Hammock to the south, and the Kissimmee River to the east.

Directions

From the city of Okeechobee, go west on US Hwy 98 (SR 700) for about 30 miles. Just before you cross a set of railroad tracks, turn right onto Bluff Hammock Rd. Follow road until it ends for approximately 5 miles. 

Trailhead is at coordinates N27 29.977 W81 12.703. 

Fees

None.

Hiking

Boney Marsh offers approximately 3.5 miles of hiking along the Florida National Scenic Trail. The trail will take you through ancient oak hammocks located along the western edge of the Kissimmee River marshes. For most of the distance, you will probably not see the river, as it's about 0.5 miles or more from the trail.

Cows Old Barn

But you can count on seeing lots of cows though. The trail goes right along side an active ranch. In fact there's an old barn with a hayloft located not too far from the trailhead. If you are a thru-hiker, you might be tempted to crash there, but don't. It's on private property.

Be thankful they are lots of bridges on this trail. The mud bugs here would suck the shoes right off your feet if they weren't. This place probably has the most bridges per mile than any other trail I know about.

Avon Bombing Range

At the end of the Boney Marsh trail is a stile that takes you over the fence and into the Avon Park Bombing Range. You can't miss it. There are 10 foot signs like the one shown above all along the fence.

Camping

Mosquito Hammock Campsite

Boney Marsh has one primitive campsite located at N27 30.988 W81 13.027, which is about 1.5 miles from the trailhead on Bluff Hammock Road and 2 miles from the Avon Park southern boundary. It's in a beautiful area known as the Mosquito Hammock, which I might add is named appropriately. There's an old concrete foundation located nearby, so if it gets really wet out there, you might want to setup camp on it. 

The campsite includes one picnic table and a pitcher pump. The water of course will have to be treated. There are no restrooms or port-o-lets, so don't forget to bring toilet paper.

Unusual Sights

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

Have you ever seen a bird caught in a spider web? We didn't think it was possible until we saw this little gnat catcher frozen in mid-air along the trail. It was only being held by a few strands of cob webs. Good thing we came along when we did. We released it and it flew away happily.   

Hunting

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission manages hunting at Boney Marsh. For up-to-date information on regulations and current hunting schedules, please go to MyFWC.com.

Hunting Schedule 2012 - 2013
Archery Sep. 15 - Oct. 14
Crossbow Oct. 15 - 19
Muzzle Gun Oct. 20 - Nov. 2
General Gun Nov. 3 - Jan. 20
Small Game Nov. 10- Mar. 3
Furbearer Nov. 3 - Jan. 20
Spring Turkey Mar. 9 -10, 16 - Apr. 21

Maps

Color infrared aerial maps of Boney Marsh showing hiking trails, camp sites and roads.  

Flowers

White Lily

GPS Data

File Formats Downloads
Garmin MapSource trails.mps
TopoGraphix ExpertGPS trails.gpx

Local Weather

Notes

Additional Information

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Last updated on 13-Sep-2012