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 Deer Prairie Creek Preserve

North Entrance - 7001 Forbes Trail, Venice
South Entrance - 10201 South Tamiami Trail, Venice
This 6,439-acre preserve, located along the wild and scenic Myakka River, was purchased between 2000 and 2004 through a partnership with the Southwest Florida Water Management District. In combination with other protected lands to the north, this preserve provides complete protection of the creek in Sarasota County and nearly six miles of the Myakka River’s east bank. 
While walking the preserve’s trails, visitors will see a variety of native habitats including pine flatwoods, prairie hammock and seasonal wetlands.
  • Portions of the trails provide scenic overlooks along the banks of the Myakka River and Deer Prairie Creek.
  • A variety of wildlife species inhabit the preserve including gopher tortoises, alligators, river otter, wild turkey, swallow-tailed kite, Florida scrub-jays and an assortment of wading birds.
  • Native flowering plants, such as St. John’s wort, tarflower and pine lily thrive throughout the landscape, with particularly striking displays during the spring and fall. 
The preserve has more than 70-miles of hiking trails, which are unpaved but accessible for most visitors.
  • All trail intersections are marked with numbered trail markers and certain trails may be shared by hikers, bicyclists and equestrian users.
  • The trails are primitive and rated easy to moderately difficult.
  • Trails may be flooded during the summer months and after extended periods of heavy rainfall.
  • Several trails may be wet year-round where they intersect creeks and ditches.
  • Water, sun block, insect repellant, a rain jacket and sturdy shoes are recommended for hiking.
For more information about Deer Prairie Creek Preserve, call 941-861-5000 and ask for Natural Resources.

 Additional Information

Deer Prairie Creek Land Management PlanDeer Prairie Creek Land Management Plan.pdf
Deer Prairie Creek Preserve BrochureDeer Prairie Creek Preserve Brochure.pdf
Deer Prairie Creek Preserve Equestrian Trails MapDeer Prairie Creek Preserve Equestrian Trails Map.pdf

 South Entrance


​South entrance: located at 10201 South Tamiami Trail in Venice offers access to the following amenities:

  • Parking lot
  • Hiking trails
  • Fishing
  • Picnic shelters (1 ADA accessible shelter) and tables
  • Benches
  • Canoe and kayak launch (NOTE: if kayaking, you will need to plan your kayak trip during a high tide. Follow the El Jobean tidal tables - go to this link for up-to-date tidal tables
  • Canoe and kayak trailer parking
  • The south entrance does not accommodate equestrian access or use. All equestrian activity is available via the north entrance only. 

 North Entrance


​North entrance: located at 7001 Forbes Trail in Venice offers access to the following amenities:

  • Parking lot
  • Hiking trails
  • Equestrian trails (*Proof of current negative Coggins test must accompany you at all times)
  • Horse trailer parking lot
  • Horse watering trough
  • Picnic shelters and tables
  • Benches
  • Portable restroom
  • Canoe/kayak landing (NOTE: accessible from the river only!)
  • North entrance does not provide access to the canoe and kayak launch located at the southern half of the Preserve.  



7:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
April through October

7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
November through March


 Trail Maps

Deer Prairie Creek Preserve (east).pdfDeer Prairie Creek Preserve (east)
Deer Prairie Creek Preserve (west).pdfDeer Prairie Creek Preserve (west)
Deer Prairie Creek Preserve.pdfDeer Prairie Creek Preserve

 Take a Virtual Tour!



  • Benches
  • Canoe/kayak launch
  • Fishing
  • Parking
  • Picnic shelters
  • Restrooms-portable
  • Trails​


  • Birding
  • Canoeing/kayaking
  • Fishing
  • Hiking/walking
  • Picnicking
  • Scenic vistas


 Directions (South)


​To the south entrance:

  • From I-75, get off at Exit 191 (toward US-41/State College of Florida-Venice/North Port/Englewood/Gulf Beaches.)
  • Merge onto North River Road
  • Turn left onto Tamiami Trail South/ U.S. 41 south/FL-45 S
  • Cross Myakka River
  • Preserve entrance is located on the left.
  • Pass the entrance and make a U-turn in the median cut.
  • You will see the sign and gate on your right at 10201 Tamiami Trail S, Venice.
  • Drive 1.08 miles along shell road and park in designated preserve parking lot on the right.
  • Preserve is located at 10201 South Tamiami Trail, Venice, FL 34287.
  • Google Map to Deer Prairie Creek Preserve - south entrance

     Directions (North)


    To the north entrance:

    • From I-75, get off at Exit 193
    • Turn north onto Jacaranda Boulevard toward Border Road
    • Turn right onto Border Road
    • Turn right onto South Moon Drive
    • Turn left onto Forbes Trail.
    • Preserve entrance is located on the right.
    • Park in the preserve’s designated parking lot.
    • Preserve is located at 7001 Forbes Trail, Venice
    • Google Map To Deer Prairie Creek Preserve-north entrance
    It Starts in Parks

    Sarasota County, Florida
    TTY: 7-1-1
    or 1-800-955-8771
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