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Walking Club: Exploring Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park

Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park
Posted at 5:03 AM, Jan 29, 2021

Many of us are looking for ways to get 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 the Tampa Bay.

Take a trip to Werner-Boyce Salt Springs in Pasco County this weekend. Carve out time to explore the park by both land and water. You'll be in awe of the beauty and history of this special place, just off of US-19!

Where is it?

There are three entrances to Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park. If it’s your first time, you will want to head to the main entrance. Put this address in your phone:

8737 U.S. 19
Port Richey, FL 34668

Restrooms, boardwalks, hiking trails and the kayak/canoe launch are located inside the main entrance.

At the Scenic Drive Trail Head, visitors will find a short hiking trail, picnic pavilion and tables.

10333 Scenic Dr
Port Richey, FL 34668

The northernmost entrance is on SR 52. Put this address in your GPS, but continue west until the road dead ends.

6641 State Road 52
Hudson, FL 34667

There is a $2 charge for pedestrians or bicycles. Vehicles with up to eight people cost $3.

What is there to do?

First-timers will want to try out the Springs Trail first, which takes visitors through multiple habitats.

Along the way, you’ll pass otter’s landing, different spots to fish, bird viewing stands (including an ADA bird viewing stand) and benches. Cauldron Spring, Salt Spring and Refection Spring are must-see spots, although it’s hard to tell (because of the color of the water) how deep Salt Spring is (380 feet, at least!). And, if you time things out, you’ll see the tidal waterfall.

Walkers will also see signs explaining the fascinating history of the area. You can read more about it here.

Pets are welcome at the park, but they must be leashed and picked up after.

How can I get out on the water?

Those who want to explore the park by water can rent a canoe, single or double kayak from Salty Dog Kayak Rentals inside the main entrance of the park.

“We feel very lucky to be running a family business in the state park,” said Ellie Petrov, Salty Dog Kayak Rentals co-owner.

Petrov says Werner-Boyce is a great spot for paddlers of all ability levels. Those with less experience on the water will enjoy exploring the mangrove tunnels and springs. Adventure-seekers will want to make the four-mile round trip paddle from the state park to Durney Key and the nearby stilt houses.

“That, I would say, is for someone who has a little bit of paddling under your belt because you have to cross the boat channel,” said Petrov.

Petrov recommends booking online, or at least checking the available time slots because the hours available to rent vary depending on the tide.

“Experiencing the park both ways is really important,” she said. “Going out on the nature trails, you’re gonna learn about the history of Salt Springs, which is fascinating. But, getting out on the water, you’re gonna see things that you just can’t see from the land.”

When should I visit?

Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park is open from 8 a.m. to sunset.

Salty Dog Kayak Rentals is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

Get involved at the park

A message from Adam Belden, Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park Manager:

“If you would like to support your local state park, we invite you to join our Citizen Support organization. The Salt Springs Alliance is a group of like-minded individuals determined to bring their skill, time, and talents together to raise money for and volunteer to improve Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park. We are currently seeking new board members for our next term and look forward to not only maintaining our current momentum but also bringing in fresh ideas and perspectives to grow our outreach and public offerings. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a member or taking a leadership role, please contact the Park Manager, Adam Belden at 727-644-2085 between 8am and 3pm Monday through Friday. This is your chance to make a difference and see the results, and just remember :“If you think you are too small to make a difference, you haven't spent the night with a mosquito.” The Dalai Lama.

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.