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A work in progress, the paved Timucuan Trail (north of Jacksonville) will ultimately total 18 miles, running from the north at Amelia Island State Park southward through Big Talbot and Little Talbot State Parks and ending in Mayport, FL, just after a ride on the St. Johns River Ferry. It's part of the East Coast Greenway (Maine to Key West). (Map link, photos below)
Map link... Timucuan Trail
Location: Nassau and Duval Counties
End Points: Amelia Island State Park, Big Talbot State Park, Little Talbot State Park, Fort George Island
Mileage: 6.5 miles, 18 when complete
Surface: 10-12 feet, paved
Nearby points of interest: Kingsley Plantation, Fort Caroline, St. Johns River Ferry
Kayak Amelia (Fernandina Beach, Big Talbot Island)
Timucuan Parks Foundation
At the north end, parking is available just south of the A1A bridge (Sawpit Creek Boat Ramp), across the road from the trail - or park at Amelia Island State Park and ride over George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier State Park (expect many fishermen on weekends). The trail starts out as a long boardwalk, then runs through Big Talbot Island State Park - scenic, paved, some sections alongside the roadway. There are several trail parking areas along A1A with access to separate hiking trails. This trail section ends at Big Pine Trail - eventually to continue to Little Talbot Island, but for now the only riding connection is along the A1A bike lane.
After the gap, the Timucuan Trail resumes at Little Talbot Island State Park, running on a wide bike lane alongside of the State Park road. It then cuts over to the bridge at Fort George Inlet, and crosses to Fort George Island. Riders will appreciate the divider on the Fort George River bridge! The trail ends over the bridge. Eventually it will run to the St. John's River Ferry pier, onto the State Park ferry and across the St. Johns River to Mayport, ending at Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park. The Timucuan Trail and Ferry are planned as part of the East Coast Greenway (Maine to Key West).
Kingsley Plantation on Fort George Island is part of the National Park Service's Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve. The plantation house built in 1798 is one of the oldest in Florida, and is the former estate of Zephaniah Kingsley who lived there 1814-37 with his multi-racial family - a slave owner, yet his wife Anna was a former slave whom he emancipated under Spanish rule at the time. It's an interesting story too long to tell here, here's an excellent article by Bonnie Gross at FloridaRambler.com with more details. Today visitors can learn about life on a plantation and the treatment of slaves while exploring the plantation house, remains of the slave quarters (25 slave cabins), barn, waterfront, kitchen house, gardens, and grounds. The house is located along the Fort George River, the main source of transportation and commerce at the time.
In addition to Kingsley Plantation, the Preserve covers 6,000 years of history dating from early Timucua Indian inhabitants. Fort Caroline National Memorial is a remnant of the short-lived French presence in the 16th century. This is a little-known place, well worth the visit. Admission is free.
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