Black River Cypress Preserve
A Sanctuary for People and Nature
THE PRESERVE: ACTIVITIES
The Black River Cypress Preserve offers a wide variety of outdoor activities.
More than 100 species of birds have been cataloged at the Cypress Preserve, including prothonotary warblers, swallow-tailed kites, wood ducks, blue grosbeaks, six species of woodpeckers, woodcocks, and orchard orioles.
Canoeing and Kayaking
Students from sixth grade through high school are invited to explore more than seven miles of aquatic trails through "The Narrows" of Black River and the ancient Cypress stands, incorporating aerobic exercise with environmental education.
Hiking and Biking
The Preserve features more than fifteen miles of beautifully constructed trails that are perfect for walking, jogging, hiking, and biking.
More than 435 species of vascular plants exist on the Preserve, including lovely spider lilies, wild azalea, sweet bay magnolia, and rare stewartia.
THE PRESERVE: ACTIVITIES
Sweetbay Picnic Pavilion
A main hub along the Swampside Trail and Pine Savanna Trails and an ideal spot to rest, read, or picnic. The pond is created by a natural well and the pavilion seats up to six.
John's Lake Picnic Pavilion
This pavilion sits at the edge of John's Lake, a beautiful lake-like cypress and tupelo swamp, and is ideal for a small group to rest and reflect.
Lower Black River Landing
Situated at the lower end of the Cypress Preserve property, this permanent landing on the Black River is the perfect place for small groups to launch a kayak outing. Visitors will also have access to a bike rack and picnic table.
Grand Junction Bicycle Shed
One of the farthest points from the parking lot, this major trail intersection contains a restroom, bike shed, and picnic table.
Swampside Trail and Boardwalks
One of the hallmark features of the Cypress Preserve is this shady two-mile trail which curves along nine boardwalks at the dynamic edge between the hardwood swamp and a grassy pineland. Along the trail, visitors will discover two screened-in resting pavilions offering a quiet space to relax and renourish while taking in the scenic surroundings.
Tall Pine Allée
A beautiful trail through some of the older Loblolly pine stands on the property. Tall Pine Allée will be used primarily by visiting students as part of the bike program.
Natural History Signage
Highlighting the iconic ecosystem of the coastal plain, natural history signs offer visitors the opportunity to learn about early European and American naturalists who explored the area and introduced the world to the diverse flora and fauna of the region.
Gin Branch Campus Meeting Pavilion
With a reservation, the open-air, screened-in Gin Branch Pavilion seats up to 25 at picnic tables and can serve as a meeting or gathering space. A projector and screen can be available for presentations.
Bird Field & Savanna Trails
Trek through an open pine vista with emerging bottlebrush, sage, and Longleaf pine. After Hurricane Matthew blew through in 2016, an estimated 70,000 Longleaf pine saplings were planted here. These trails offer some of the best bird watching on the property.
The Bike Barn houses a new fleet of bicycles for all sizes and offers bus parking for school and youth groups.
Upriver Kayak Launch
This is one of two sites where groups can launch kayaks into the main channel of the Black River. This launch site lies near the Highway 41 Black River Bridge and includes a nearby bike shed.
Part of the expanded trail system and accessible only by a new 500-foot boardwalk, this sandy island lies in the middle of the cypress and tupelo swamp and makes a great stop for picnicking and taking in the surroundings.