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Walking Club: Exploring Boyd Hill Nature Preserve in St. Pete

Walking Club: Exploring Boyd Hill Nature Preserve
Posted at 4:55 PM, Apr 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-02 08:12:08-04

Many of us are looking for ways to remain active while also staying a safe distance away from others. That's why Sarah Phinney started a ‘Walking Club’ to highlight some hidden, and some not so hidden, trails and parks across Tampa Bay.

Boyd Hill Nature Preserve in St. Pete is an oasis for folks in southern Pinellas County. Located right on the shore of Lake Maggiore, visitors will find paths that wind through different habitats. Soon, there will be even more to see!

Where is it?

Boyd Hill Nature Preserve spans more than 400 acres and can be found south of downtown St. Pete. The address is:

1101 Country Club Way S
St. Petersburg, FL 33705

It costs $3 for adults to get in. Children (ages 3-16) cost $1.50. Kids under the age of three are free.

Visitors must enter the Lake Maggiore Environmental Education Center to pay for admission. While you’re inside, check out the displays.

No pets are allowed.

What is there to do?

Just outside the Lake Maggiore Environmental Education Center, visitors will find the Birds of Prey Aviary, where permanently injured raptors are housed and cared for.

There are currently about six miles of trails at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. The Main Trail is a great place for new visitors to start. It is just under a mile (0.82) and connects to boardwalks and other trails if you’d like to extend your walk.

“You get to hit a lot of the cool areas. You get to see the alligators off of our boardwalks and you also get to go through our sand scrub, where our gopher tortoises usually hang out,” said Taylor Graham City of St Petersburg Parks & Recreation Nature Preserve Supervisor II.

Bikes are allowed on the trails. Most trails are ADA accessible.

What’s next?

Two to three miles of new trails are being added. The trails will connect the existing six miles to the upcoming campground area, according to Graham.

There will be 12 primitive campsites, six cabins and a group campsite. Graham says it should be open by the end of April.

“The campers will have access to the trails at night. They’ll be able to go on hikes. We’ll also have some guided programming, like night hikes and campfire programming,” said Graham. “There will also be a new facility near the grounds. It’s called Hammock Hall. That building will be available for rentals. We have a 100 person capacity banquet room and then also a 50 person capacity banquet room.”

St. Pete officials hope to have the trails and camping area open to the public by April 15.

When should I visit?

Boyd Hill Nature Preserve is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. March through October and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. November through February. It is closed on Mondays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Join Walking Club!

Post photos of your adventures, ask questions and learn about upcoming #WalkingClub stories in Sarah’s Walking Club group on Facebook!

You can also keep up with Sarah on Instagram and Twitter.