Bull Creek Wildlife Management Area
Old Trail Notes
Thanks to the hard working members of the Florida Trail Assoc, there
are now three new foot bridges spanning across Crabgrass Creek. Out
with the old, in with the new.
Good news! The trail in the south section of Bull Creek has been
rerouted so it no longer uses the Loop Road to get to Little Scrub
camp. This was a major effort. Over 4.3 miles of new trail was blazed
and 4 new bridges were added. Also the trail section between the
Forever Florida crossover and Little Scrub camp has been shortened. It
now takes a more direct / dryer route using some of the existing jeep
Since I lost the trail data on my computer about a year ago, I've been
having to revisit a lot of these trails just to get the GPS coordinates
for them. In a way it was a good thing, because some of the trails have
been rerouted. For example, the trail section that use to run on top of
the levee from SR 192 has been completely moved into the nearby woods.
Looks really sharp now. Plus, down by the old tram line, south of Yoke
Branch, the trail has been rerouted to another tram line to get around
a notorious wet spot. If you're hiking along the west side of the loop,
you may notice a new cross-over trail heading in the direction of Three
Lakes WMA. This goes through the Forever Florida property, all the way
to SR 441. The old cross-over trail through Deseret Ranch property has
been closed indefinitely.
Lots of new changes are occurring at Bull Creek. For one, Loop Road is
finally getting a facelift. Heavy equipment has been brought in to
begin resurfacing the road and to fill in the huge mud holes. Won't be
long before you'll be able to drive the entire loop without worrying
about getting stuck. The Florida Trail Assoc has done an excellent job
in replacing most of the foot bridges and added a few new ones too
along the old tram line near Bull Creek. If all goes well, the state
might come in and replace the three bridges over Crabgrass Creek.
It's been a while since I visited Bull Creek last. I had the pleasure
of joining a group of hikers that wanted to see the wild side of
Florida. We backpacked the western side of the loop first starting from
the main entrance. The weather was great, low humidity and no bugs, but
the sun nearly fried us all. By the time we got to the Little Scrub
Campsite, we were beat. There was absolutely no shade, except
underneath the picnic table, so we decided to camp over by Billy Lake.
Beautiful spot! It truly is an oasis. I stayed for about an hour there
with the group and then had to leave on account I only had a daypack
with me. The rest of the day and part of the night was spent hiking
back to my vehicle. What at hike! 18.5 miles and that's not counting
some of the backtracking I did..
Water Hyacinths... they're becoming a common sighting along the Florida
Trail near Bull Creek. If you're hiking along in that section, watch
out for the submerged bridges. They can be a real shin buster. I hiked
(or waded might be a better word) all the way from the SR 192 trailhead
to the Yoke Branch bridge and back (~10 miles). Except for there being
lots of water (ankle to knee deep), the condition of the trail was
pretty good. I only saw a small section, which had been burned a few
months ago, that needed a little pruning and the blazes repainted. Will
be coming back shortly to check on the rest of the trails.
Extremely wet! You may want to bring a snorkel and mask. There are
sections along Bull Creek where your feet can't even touch the bottom.
Some of the roads are flooded as well. The bridge over Yoke Branch is
Make sure you wear hip waders if you plan on hiking near Bull Creek.
Some sections of the trail are covered with about 4 - 5 feet of water!
Finished clearing the rest of the trail along the old tram grade near
Bull Creek. There's a new non-potable water source located on the
Florida Trail just before it comes out onto the southern half of Loop
Road. Someone has broken the cap off of an old well and now there's
water is gushing out all over the ground. It's sulfur water, so the
area around the well smells like rotten eggs.
Took a another look at the damage done to Jane Green Campsite. The pump
with a broken handle is pretty much useless. The well appears to be dry
but it could be the pump just needs to be primed. The busted up picnic
table has almost vanished into the tall weeds and the camp sign has
been shot gunned to smithereens. If you are hiking through Bull Creek,
you may be better off camping at Little Scrub campsite (about 10 miles
to the south). At least it has a working pump and a table to eat at.
Expect trail conditions to be a little wet. Most of the trail along the
old tram grade is clear now except for a 1/2 mile section south of
Ronnie Ford near Loop Road.
The rest of the trail is clear now all the way to Ronnie Ford. Ended up
having to use a chainsaw to remove the fallen trees in the dead zone.
The trail is starting to look really good now. Just needs a
few new blazes and a touch up on the old ones. Instead of
heading further south I decided to head up north and check out the
trail section north of Yoke Branch. Thankfully most of the trees along
this trail section have been recently lopped. All that was needed was
some serious weed whacking. It took a while but I got rid of most of
the tall weeds that were encroaching on the trail and also the ones
that were covering up the blazes. The trail is now in great
shape from Yoke Branch to the northern end of Loop Road.
Armed with a pruning saw and a pair of lopping shears I managed to
clear about a mile and a half of the Florida Trail between Yoke Branch
and Ronnie Ford. There is still quite a bit work that needs to be done
just north of the ford. Looks like ground zero right now with
all the dead trees covering the trail.
Trails in the western half of Bull Creek are in good
condition. I wish I could say the same for the eastern half.
The trail section that follows the old tram grade is in very poor
condition. Expect lots of dead fall, tall weeds and spider webs. There
is good news though. All the bridges in this section are in good
condition thanks to some recent work done on them by the FTA. Great
job! In the southern half, there's a little bit of water on
the trails but you don't have to worry about the sugar sand slowing you
down. Contrary to what I've heard, the well pump at Little Scrub
Campsite is working. The cold well water is quite refreshing on a very
hot summer day like today. So much for restocking the trail registrar
on the south end. I found it toppled over with the contents laying on
the ground. Looks like it fell over due to natural causes. Didn't get a
chance to check out the north end but it's probably in good condition.
I'm happy to report that the lawn mower man has revisited Bull
Creek. Trails in western and northern regions are freshly
cut. Although it's a little rough (lots of palmetto stumps - gator
backs), these trails are in good condition now.
Another beautiful day at Bull Creek. Continued hiking south from where
I stopped last weekend (about 1 mile south of Yoke
Branch). The trail showed very little use and is in need of
some serious work. Sections along Loop Road near Billy Lake are
extremely soft (sugar sand). Looks like a fire killed off
most of the trees surrounding Little Scrub Campsite.
Amazingly, the campsite is in pretty good shape and the water pump even
works. The sign-in register box needs a new pad and pencil. The trail
leading out of Bull Creek is completely overgrown. I'm not
even sure you're suppose to go this route anymore if you're heading to
Trails are in fair condition. Some sections, particularly near Bull
Creek, are covered with dead fall. Most of the trail signs
are destroyed or are unreadable due to vandals using them as target
practice. The pump at Jane Green Campsite is
broken. The trail blazes are in good condition except for a
few spots (north-east section) where the blazes have faded to pink.
Some of the foot bridges on the old railroad grade near Bull Creek need
some repair. Hiking was excellent. The weather was great.
Just have to watch out for hunters and wear bright orange clothing. No
sign of ticks or mosquitoes.
- Jun-1999: My little bridge project. It took about
month to complete. Most of the time was waiting for the water to go
down. Hauling the lumber to the site was a real treat. Nearest point
you could get to it with
a vehicle was about a half mile away. The bridge is located on the old
north-south tram line that runs parallel to Bull Creek.