July 12, 2023
Egans Creek is an estuary of the Amelia River located in the northern part of Amelia Island, and boy has it seen its share of history. Everything from Native Americans occupying the mouth of the creek over 2000 years ago to an Indigo Plantation built along it’s banks prior to the Revolutionary War. It’s even told that pirates hid in Egans Creek and may have buried treasure there!
Both the waterway and Egans Creek Greenway occupy 300+ acres of protected wetlands and until now, you may never have known they existed. The Greenway’s grass-covered roads serve as a network of trails suitable for hiking and biking while the creek makes way for kayakers, paddleboarders, and boaters. Both are perfect for studying wildlife and native vegetation or just getting out and about in nature. Are you ready for a stunning day in the great outdoors?
The Greenway is a 5 mile in-and-out/loop offering 5 hiking trails and 1 mountain bike trail. You can begin at the northern access trail behind the Rec Center near the pirate playground/picnic area or at the southern access trail behind the Residence Inn on Sadler Road. It is advisable to take plenty of water for hydration (especially in the summertime), bug spray to ward off those pesky mosquitoes, and to stay on the designated trails. You may see turtles and alligators sunning themselves or even the elusive white-tailed deer having a bite to eat. Benches and interpretive displays are located throughout the Greenway so you can soak it all in.
A favorite bike ride to soothe the soul is one through the Greenway. Casual riders will love pedaling the grassy trails to see nature up close and personal. It is common for cyclists to see egrets, herons, ospreys and eagles fishing. Depending on the time of year, wildflowers will be in bloom on the trail along with other idigenous flora and fauna. Stop on one of the two bridges crossing over the creek to look for alligators or turtles. If you’re a birder, nearly 200 species of birds have been recorded in this well watched site. So much to take in all at once!
Kayaking Egans Creek is a great way to relax with mother nature. You can do it on your own or on a guided tour with Amelia Adventures or Amelia Island Kayak Excursions. The tour “engages paddlers in a true tidal marsh experience rich in marine life, featuring aquatic grasses, sedges, other native plants, animals, birds, and reptiles. A tidal marsh is a place where fresh water and sea water meet, its environment is driven by coastal tides. This means a nice helpful current for paddlers, and also a breathtaking experience for those interested in wildlife viewing.”
Let the fine folks at Amelia Island Paddle Surf take you on a memorable tour of Egans Creek on a stand up paddleboard. You’ll view gorgeous marsh grasses and the centuries-old live oaks of Fort Clinch State Park as well as the oldest working lighthouse in the country. You’ll also see many varieties of birds and possibly an alligator, manatee, and/or dolphin! “The natural beauty combined with all the history of the area make this a unique experience.”
Pack a picnic and head to Egans Creek Park just off Atlantic Avenue. Amenities include a pavilion with picnic tables, restrooms, a kayak launch and fishing pier, explorer dome play apparatus, and a 1/4 mile fitness trail with outdoor fitness equipment along the way. This is a popular spot for exercise enthusiasts who enjoy getting their workout done in a beautiful coastal setting.
NOTE: The site of this park was once home to an indigo plantation in the 1770’s belonging to the estate of John Perceval, 2nd Earl of Egmont.
Shiver me timbers! Pirate playground, located behind the Rec Center on Atlantic Avenue, is a community-accessible playground integrating exercise, art, nature, music, imagination, and local history for children of all physical and mental abilities. It’s a playgroud for pirates, big and small and the best part is you can take the path right behind it and be on the greenway for an incredible nature walk after play.
Many different kinds of creatures – alligators, turtles, snakes, marsh rabbits, deer, and many variety of birds – live, nest, feed and find safety in the protection of the Greenway. Wild animals may react defensively or take flight if approached too closely so keep your distance and instead zoom in with your camera or phone. There are lots of photo ops to be had!
Click here for a downloadable brochure with trail map and more great information.
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