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Reported: August 2022

Conservation Park... Panama City Beach, FL

A Natural Escape for Biking and Hiking in the Florida Panhandle

Conservation Park is a Panama City Beach treasure covering 2,900 acres, enjoyed by both locals and visitors for biking, hiking, and nature viewing. Just 2 miles from the hustle and bustle of the beach and tourist hubs, it's a great natural escape. The park has 24 miles of trails, including several boardwalks over wetlands and through cypress domes. The trails are hard packed and well-maintained, an easy ride on most bikes. Wildlife may be seen, including alligators, snakes, deer, turkeys, and many other bird species. Open 7 days, dawn to dusk, no fee. (Map link and photos below.)

Conservation Park, Panama City Beach

Map Link... Conservation Park
Panama City Beach Eco-biking


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Location: Bay County (Panama City Beach)
Mileage: 24 miles of trail and 1 mile of boardwalk
Trailheads: 100 Conservation Road (off Griffin Blvd.) (see map)
Surface: Fine gravel, dirt, boardwalk; limited pavement. Varying width, 6-12 feet.
Nearby Points of interest: Panama City Beach, St. Andrews State Park

Bike Shops/Rentals:
Po-Mans Bike Shop (sales, repair)
Steve's Bike Shop (sales, repair)
Bike The Beach (rentals)

Conservation Park... Comments and Photos

There are 12 trails within the park. Five trail routes are marked out, identified by colored markers along the trails: Green (1.7 miles), Yellow (4-6 miles), Blue (5.2-6.5 miles), Orange (9.5 miles), and Red (11 miles). However, the trails intersect and cross and are well marked with signs so you can mix and match to go as far as you want. The trails near the trailhead are suitable for families and children. We found the trail map (available at the trailhead and online) to be very helpful in staying oriented to where we were. There is limited shade and no amenities along the trails - bring water, snacks, sunscreen and insect repellent. Note: some of the lower, wetter trails can flood and be muddy after rainstorms.

Page Summary:

  1. Walt Oberst Way to Conservation Park Trailhead
    - Walt Oberst Way, Conservation Park Trailhead
  2. A Two-mile Loop
    - Cypress Trail, Palmetto Trail, Baxley Homestead Trail
  3. Some History
  4. More Information and Resources

Walt Oberst Way to Conservation Park Trailhead

Walt Oberst Way starts at the end of Gayle's Trails (Panama City Beach's trail network, see link below) at Griffin Blvd. and Conservation Drive, the main park drive. From here, it runs about 1/3 mile to Conservation Park Trailhead - over a boardwalk and past the picnic pavilion on the way. Walt Oberst Way and a short section past the trailhead are the only paved trails at the park.

The trailhead has parking, a building shelter with restrooms, picnic tables, picnic pavilion (by reservation), an outdoor classroom and informational kiosk. Plans are underway to build a new, larger facility to include more restrooms, workrooms and a classroom. Completion is anticipated in late 2023.

Walt Oberst Way

Conservation Park Trailhead

A Two-mile Loop

We rode a 2-mile loop that included portions of the Green, Yellow and Red trails. Starting from the trailhead and going clockwise, we rode Cypress Pond Trail, to Palmetto Trail, to Baxley Homestead Trail, and return. This was once a pine plantation and much of the trail reflects that. The wetlands with boardwalks, cypress, and some ponds were most scenic. A prescribed burn had recently taken place, affecting the scenery in some sections we rode through. This was an easy ride, just a few sandy spots that were easily navigated. All along the way, we appreciated the excellent signage and trail color coding.

Cypress Pond Trail

Cypress Pond Trail starts across from the shelter building at the trailhead, paved for a short distance before becoming fine gravel, easy to ride on fat wheels. Proceeding clockwise (to the southwest, then looping north), the trail winds past picnic areas and the outdoor classroom near the trailhead, then through pine forest, scrub flatlands, and cypress dome including two boardwalks. Intersections were well-marked at Walt Oberst Way (near the trailhead), Conservation Trail (a short trail linking to Walt Oberst Way near the park entrance), Osprey Pond Trail and Buck Pond Trail. In about 1.2 mile, we turned onto Palmetto Trail.


Palmetto Trail

Palmetto Trail took us eastbound on our loop. The surface was a bit rougher and gets narrower than Cypress Pond Trail, but still very rideable. Though a relatively short trail (4/10 mile), it was quite scenic passing a couple of ponds and over our third boardwalk before exiting onto Baxley Homestead Trail.

Baxley Homestead Trail

Baxley Homestead Trail is wider, perhaps once a road. There was some construction equipment nearby and vehicle tracks on the trail, so work may have been ongoing. The surface was more sandy here, but rideable. Proceeding south is an intersection with Buck Pond Trail, then you arrive back at the trailhead (4/10 mile).

Some History

Originally the Baxley family homestead, the property was later developed by the St. Joe Company as a tree plantation. This drastically altered what were once wetlands. Donated to the City, today efforts are underway to restore the natural balance. Modern forestry practices work to restore the ecosystem and wildlife habitat, and an innovative system has been developed utilizing Panama City Beach's reclaimed water to rehydrate the wetlands.

Conservation Park's Guiding Principles are: to protect and balance our natural resources while providing outdoor recreational opportunities.

More Information and Resources

Nearby Biking:

Gayle's Trails
Timpoochee Trail
FL Panhandle Region - More trails plus Regional Overview map

Related Resources:

Panama City Beach - Conservation Park

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