If you are looking for a quiet place to hike, away from development and busy streets, Pine Glades Natural Area has 6,651 acres of restored wetlands open residents of Palm Beach County. Located just west of Jupiter Farms and a short drive from Palm Beach Gardens and The Town of Jupiter, the park has nearly eight miles of hiking trails, a kayak launch, a covered picnic area, a wheelchair accessible restroom, and several boardwalks surrounded by the sounds and sights of natural Florida.
Pine Glades Natural Area is part of the Loxahatchee River watershed and the Northeast Everglades Natural Area. The site had been previously used for now-defunct agricultural purposes and was acquired a piece by piece over the course of 11 years. It faced extensive restoration to remove invasive plant species, restore the historic sheet flow of water down the area, as well as restore the pine flatwoods/wet prairie ecosystems.
The park has five native South Florida ecosystems: mesic flatwoods, wet flatwoods, wet prairie, depression marsh, and dome swamp. Countless plants, flowers, and animal species can be observed in the area, including numerous species of birds, white-tailed deer, American alligator, river otters, and fresh water turtles.
One of the great things about Pine Glades Natural Area is that, unlike many of Palm Beach County’s other natural areas that close hours before dark, Pine Glades Natural Area is open until sunset. This makes it a great place to catch amazing sunsets from the boardwalk overlooking the wetlands.