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.