Finding Your Path

Good Places to Hike in Jax

March 16, 2021

Hiking in Jacksonville is a great way to experience some of the unique, natural landscapes that the city has to offer, whilst adding hours to your Bolles Outdoor Challenge.

Now don’t get me wrong, you won’t find super strenuous mountain trails or extreme elevation gains in Florida, but there is an abundance of interesting scenery within city limits. This guide was created to show the best trails and hikes in Jax, FL, so you can get outdoors and enjoy some of the city’s best sandy (and yes, even green) spaces.

Tillie K. Fowler Park Review:

Tillie K. Fowler Park started small in 1996, only having an observation tower, nature center, and an outdoor classroom to its name. However, over the next 25 years the reserve grew into what we see today: 509-acres of preserved historic roads and easy-to-navigate trails. The park now possesses two dog parks for large and small dogs, an archery range, 3.5-miles of dirt-bike track, playground, and even a bathroom.

Florida-themed graffiti on Tillie K. Fowler’s observation tower.

I have been a regular attendee at Fowler Park since I was a child, and am always surprised with the developments and natural ambiance. The twisted pine, bridge walks, and friendship of our fellow-hikers creates a desirable enviroment for any avid hiker, while the trail’s serenity makes it seem as though we are immersed within one of the few Floridian locations without mosquitoes.

Downtown Riverwalk Review:

The Downtown Riverwalk is a 1.2-mile stretch of inner-city, river-side hiking and biking trails. Due to its location, its travelers have easy access to parking, the Riverside Arts Market, and Downtown Jax, making a mid-hike snack run entirely possible. Despite being inner-city, the Riverwalk has a natural feel through its beautiful view of the St. Johns river and the downtown skyline. Not only that, but there is a diverse range of elevation, giving hikers and bikers the choice to stay on the pavement or go onto the many bridges.

Much like the Pont de Arte in Paris, couples lock locks on the
Northbank Riverwalk, Downtown

When strolling the Downtown Riverwalk with my mother and dog, Draco, I noticed a few hidden gems along the way. Firstly was the outdoor gym, fully equipped with weights and bars while constructed in an artistic style. Secondly was the water taxi, an unknown lifesaver to those who want a shortcut across the river. Unfortunately, the water taxi is only running for special cruises due to COVID-19, but it’s availability and cross-water journey has always been a joy in the past.

Before You Go…

Jacksonville’s trails are beautiful, but they’re often hot, swampy, and infused with insects. To help make your hikes as enjoyable as possible, I am sharing the basic hiking gear that I bring, along with a list of items that you should consider taking along with you on your hike.


Water (42 ounces)
Snacks (Trail mix, trail or protein bars)
Closed-Toe Shoes (Hiking boots, durable yet comfortable tennis shoes)
Breathable hiking clothes – wear layers in colder weather.
Durable Day-Pack to carry all your gear (Osprey, CamelBak)
Watch (Timex , G-Shock)

Other Items to Consider

Hat (Brimmed or Baseball style)
Bug Spray
Trekking poles
First Aid Kit

An Update on the Bolles Outdoor Challenge

For the past few months the upper, middle, and lower school have been participating in the Bolles Outdoor Challenge. “The challenge is to enjoy [the outdoors] and document 20 hours spent being active outside,” Mrs. Moyer-Shad said in a Schoology post. “For every 20 hours you complete, you will be entered to win a $100 gift card.” As of now, Bolles has 182 online entries from kids, and faculty, on almost all campuses. “I’ve had 2 completed hard copy forms turned in- one from Daphne Vegenas and one from Nate Drew. Looking at the online entries, Josh Hoekstra and Ander Kelley also have over 20 hours,” Mrs. Moyer-Shad commented. Good job Bolles! Keep it up.

Ian Wilkinson, Contributing Writer
Junior Ian Wilkinson is a first-year contributing writer. Other than participating in the Bolles Crew program, competing in annual piano competitions, and being an active Boy Scout, Ian enjoys music and trying new things. In the future, he would like to pursue a career in the Biomedical field.

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