Rice Creek Conservation Area

About this property

Rice Creek Swamp covers approximately 70 percent of this property. Together with Palmetto Branch, Oldtown Branch and Hickory Branch — which are all just west of the conservation area — the swamp forms the headwaters of Rice Creek, a large tributary of the St. Johns River. The area was an indigo and rice plantation during the 18th century, and most of the uplands were managed as commercial pine plantations before brought into public ownership.

The site protects a variety of natural communities, including floodplain swamp, flatwoods, dome swamp, floodplain forest and upland mixed forest. The area is also a key parcel for connecting Etoniah State Forest to the Cross Florida Greenway.

One of the special highlights of this property is an historic levee built for an 18th century rice plantation that will take visitors along a walk into the heart of the swamp to view the seventh largest cypress tree in Florida. A portion of the Florida National Scenic Trail also traverses through the property. This portion of the trail includes Hoffman Crossing, an 1,886-foot narrow boardwalk the puts the hiker in the heart of the Rice Creek Swamp.

Wildlife viewing

Please respect Florida’s wildlife and use caution while visiting district lands. These are wild animals. For your safety, do not approach or feed any wild animal. The area serves as a wildlife corridor, connecting several large natural areas. Wildlife seen on property include black bear, white-tailed deer, turkey, river otter, wood duck and diverse migratory songbirds.

Recreational activities
  1. Hiking, bicycling, horseback riding and primitive camping. The bike trail shares the road with Weyerhaeuser. Logging trucks and equipment may be using this road at any time.
  2. The areas of Rice Creek Conservation Area south of State Road 20 offer limited hunts and are included in the Caravelle Ranch Wildlife Management Area.

Parking is off State Road 100. For details and to get driving directions from your location, see the Google Maps link on this page.