Historic Jungle Trail

Florida

Historic Jungle Trail Facts

States: Florida
Counties: Indian River
Length: 7.8 miles
Trail end points: FL A1A near Seaview Blvd. (Vero Beach) and FL A1A at Old Winter Beach Road (Indian River Shores)
Trail surfaces: Sand
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6351401
Trail activities: Bike, Fishing, Wheelchair Accessible, Mountain Biking, Walking

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Historic Jungle Trail Description

The Historic Jungle trail winds for nearly 8 miles along a sandy road through the hammock habitat of Florida's barrier islands north of Vero Beach. The trail—really a road—is on the National Register of Historic Places and was built in the 1920s so that citrus growers could haul their produce up and down the barrier island. Although cars do drive along the road, it's mostly used by cyclists, walkers and joggers. The road is sandy but mostly hard packed and easy going for wide-tire bicycles. Some places can get soft at times.

From the northern end point, the trail begins in Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, the nation's first wildlife refuge established in 1903 by Teddy Roosevelt to protect birds from feather hunters. Bird feathers were widely used to decorate women's hats in the early 20th century, and Florida's barrier islands were teeming with the most vulnerable of species.

Park in the refuge just off A1A (you'll find bathrooms and drinking fountains here). From here you can also explore a 2.5-mile walking path (no bikes allowed) around one of the peninsulas on the Indian River. Head south on the Jungle Trail through the refuge in an open savannah of palm, sea grape and other coastal wetland species. In about 0.5 mile you'll come to a turn-off for another parking area. Head down here for a short diversion along the Centennial Trail (walking only, accessible; bike racks available). The Centennial Trail is a part-paved and part-boardwalk trail leading to a lookout from which you can see the original Pelican Island. (The refuge has expanded greatly since 1903.) There's also another hiking trail in this area.

The scenery is spectacular and the lookout has spotting scopes that allow you a close-up view of roosting and nesting wood storks, pelicans, egrets, herons and ospreys, to name a few species. Interpretive signs give a brief history of how Pelican Island was saved and about efforts to restore the natural habitat of the refuge. The sun can by intense here but shelters and benches are provided at the start of the trail and the lookout is under cover.

Continuing on the main Historic Jungle Trail you soon reach a section where you can pull over and get another look at the Indian River Lagoon. You can also launch a kayak or canoe from here, as well as drop a fishing line (check local fishing regulations). The trail continues south, winding through the hammock habitat. After leaving the refuge, you'll begin to get glimpses of the gated golf course communities on each side of the trail. This stretch is more shaded though the road may be covered in debris if the vegetation-trimming crew has recently been around. Also, watch for snakes warming themselves on the road in early morning or around dusk.

When you reach a road crossing (Orchid Island Drive), proceed with caution because the vegetation can block your view, although traffic is sparse. A short distance later, you'll reach another more tricky crossing at SR 510 (Wabasso Beach Road). Use caution when crossing the road here since there are no pedestrian signals. This next section of trail is much less shaded and passes between the Indian River to the west and the back yards of upscale homes to the east.

At Captain Forster's Hammock Preserve take a side-trip through the 110-acre area, which has additional nature trails winding through the trees. You'll find parking here, bike racks, bathrooms and drinking fountains.

Back on the main Historic Jungle Trail continue south to trail's end, where it turns into the paved Old Winter Beach Road. You can take this about 0.5 mile to Route A1A, and there is a paved side path so you don't have to ride on the road. At A1A you can pick up the Route 1A Trail and head back north to where you parked at the wildlife Refuge about 6 miles, or head back along the Historic Jungle Trail.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the northern access point and parking: From the intersection of Wabasso Road (CR 510) and SR A1A, drive north 3.7 miles on A1A; you will see a sign on the right indicating Pelican Island Wildlife Refuge; turn left onto the road marked Historic Jungle Trail.

To reach the southern access point (no parking): From the intersection of Wabasso Road (CR 510) and SR A1A, drive south 2.4 miles on A1A to Old Winter Beach Road and turn right. Drive a short distance to the bend in the road. The trail starts on the right when the road becomes gravel/sand.

Historic Jungle Trail Reviews

Beautiful winding route. This is not a "trail" as you may imagine but an unpaved sand/gravel road. I biked this yesterday, arriving from the south on A1A. There was minimal vehicle traffic on the jungle trail. After turning on to Winter road, drive for about a mile and the road becomes gravel. Travel a bit more and there ARE designated parking spots next to a white building. The trail is mostly shaded, and there are some sandy spots and but nothing too obstructive. At the north entrance, there is parking at Pelcian Island Refuge (also a bathroom, water fountain). If you are feeling more adventurous, check out the trails within Pelican Island. There are two 3 mile loop trails, and an observation tower. Pack plenty of water and sunscreen!!!

I was vastly disappointed since the Jungle "Trail" is a road. Now everyone can see "nature" from their car. The Trail link gave no map of the actual trails in the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge. This is the oldest wildlife refuge in the country, and although they say it was expanded over the years it feels like the opposite since there is so little access to water areas. And so little care is taken of anything but the restrooms and parking areas. Trails are in circles. Very little birding in Captain Forster Hammock. Fort Pierce Inlet State Park directly on the inlet has a tiny trail with a few things to see that is better than this one.

This trail is defiantly one of Florida's best trails as it goes along nature preserves, golf courses, and along the backside of the Islands housing area. The trail is mostly packed sand so you want to use a wider tire bike. I made the mistake my first time in using my road bike, and my tires sank and skid in areas where there was loose sand. The trail ends at another housing area at a paved road, we then take that road to the Vero sidewalk, and head north on it to the Wabasso Bridge intersection - where there are beachside places to eat past the Disney Resort on the beach. At the Wabasso beachside eateries you can eat pizza, healthy sandwiches, (made to order) and grab a cold drink before finishing the route. It's about 15 miles round trip when completed. Biking back on the sidewalk offers little shade, and can get extremely hot if it's done in the midday sun. In all, we love this the route, and will continue to bike it often.

Accordion

My husband and I have lived in Florida for over a year and had never driver the Jungle Trail. Although there are houses inland from the trail, I believe it has remained a habitat for wildlife. The blue crabs were astounding..although I feared a gator might pop out at any moment. I will not be a constant visitor however it was a nice change from the everyday hub bub the city can bring.

This trail should be renamed Ugly Dirt Road Between Nasty Ditches! No vistas, no wildlife to speak of, just a long slog along a sugar sand-dirt road that occasionally smelled bad! The only carrot at the end of this stick was the Pelican Island Preserve, which was nice but best viewed from a kayak.

This is actually a dirt road that vehicles use, but they are very courteous and the road is wide. We started at the Pelican Island National Wildlife Reserve on Route A1A. The "Jungle Trail" is the road that takes you through the Reserve, past a golf course and if you want across Route 510. We stopped at 510 and came back to Pelican Island and walked the "Centenial Trail" which is a black top walkway that goes to a board walk that has all the NWR's and the date they were created on the boardwalk... worth the stop!
The trail/road is well maintained, some sun, some shade.

Wife and I rode this a week ago while on vacation. Packed sand that seems bull-dozed often to stay firm and level. We didn't think the trail was boring: zillion dollar homes on the residential part and the NWR on the northern end. We found this whole Vero Beach south to Stuart area extremely bike friendly. My wife and I had no qualms riding on A1A. Rent from Orchid Island Bikes and Kayaks. They rent Treks and, best of all, they had the mechanics adjust the bikes before we got them. They put us on a route from their store to Wally's for a great oceanside lunch and from there to the Jungle Trail. Round trip about 38 miles, a slow, very flat, whole day ride with stops. We're early 60s and were able to ride over the 12th Street barrier island bridge. It is a steep incline for FL and rail trails, but it's long-ish and has a wide bike lane.

We drove south on A1A, went a few miles past the Sebastian Inlet State Park, over the bridge, and on the other side there were road signs pointing to the Jungle Trail. After making the right turn off A1A, there was a nice (and empty) parking lot with flush toilets. The trail is a fairly wide hard-packed sand road that’s very smooth and easy. We saw an occasional car, but nobody seemed to be in much of a hurry.

We pedaled the 8-mile trail that went from fairly open views, to canopies of trees, then condo and marine development toward the south. The trail connects with the A1A Trail, where we turned left onto the trail and headed back north. The trail runs alongside the A1A roadway with about a 10’ greenway strip between the road and the dedicated bikeway. It goes by the usual Florida condos and gated communities, then meets back up with the parking lot where we left the RV at the beginning of the trail.

The whole loop was a nice and easy 15 miles or so. Very enjoyable.


This trail is old a1a whose bed is coquia shells & sand. The Ranger said to look out for cars going fast because this is still a road for any vehicle. The northern section is more rustic which may resemble a jungle with a wide road through it. The southern part runs adjacent to condos & houses--not exactly what you'd call a jungle!

The entrance points from both north & south ends are poorly marked, so keep a sharp eye out for them. Some of the curves were a bit slippy with the loose material. Neither this nor the A1A are "destination trails" but if you're in the area they are worth a shot, especially if you're here in the winter & you're from a cold northern climate.

Done this trail twice now and just love it!
I do the trail to the end then shoot over to a1a and head
North. At Wabassa we stop at the sandwich shop
for a break then finish the trail for a complete 15 miles.

Ill be doing this trail a lot! Love it.

I parked in the beach parking lot at the end of CR 510 and road back West on 510 to where the jungle trail crosses , I went to the right (north). Very nice ride along here , it is a sandy, mostly packed trail and fairly easy riding for a mountain bike or a Hybrid. Might be tough with a road/racing bike. There are some soft and muddy spots so you have to watch out. I spun out in a particularly soft spot at one point.
The road breaks out into a plain area that has great views and goes through Pelican Island National Refuge viewing areas and comes bsack out on A1A. I road south on A1A back to the parking area for a very nice easy 45 minute ride. Next time I will ride South on the Jungle trail and see how that is.

Very nice trail. Compact sandy road easy to walk/run on. Great place to take your dogs. One area to allow them to take a quick swim to cool off on a hot day.

Note: there are two 2.5 mile loop trails right off the Jungle Trail but dogs and bikes aren't allowed.

We were staying in the area and loved this trail so much, we explored it every day--by foot, bike, and car. Pelican Island NWR is beautiful (north end of the trail), and the route through here is much more rural, though you will run into a few other explorers. Joggers and dog walkers outnumbered cars by a long shot, especially in the section south of Wabasso Beach Road. This southern section of the trail is more suburban, passing behind the back yards of swanky homes and condos on one side and the Indian River on the other. The trail is much more open here, so bring plenty of sunscreen, a hat and water. We didn't see any manatees on the river, although there are plenty of signs warning boaters to steer clear of them. We did, however, so a river otter at the Centennial Trail pull over (Pelican Island NWR section) and lots of seabirds, shorebirds and waterfowl. The Centennial Trail is well worth the short side trip (walkers only); the trail is only 0.75 mile round-trip. Bike racks are handy for those wanting to lock up and explore by foot.

The surface is mostly hard-packed sand but we did see a few soft spots (easily avoided). During other times of the year, however, the surface might become soft, so wide tires are probably best. I imagine it gets pretty hot in the summer, so we recommend heading out early in the morning or just before dusk. Note the refuge is open between 7:30 a.m. and sunset but the Jungle Trail remains open, you just can't explore the refuge's other trails after dark.

We accessed the trail at the southern end from Old Winter Beach Road. There are no signs indicating the trail at this end, and there is no parking lot. We drove in about a half mile and found an abandoned driveway to pull into. A yard maintenance man said it was not private property so we could park there but we backed out to park on the side of the road. The trail is an old sand road that is hard-packed in some spots and a little grabby in others. Our hybrid bike tires picked up the sand and made it slow going. My boyfriend's knees (both are artificial) hurt after riding ten minutes. Rather than continuing north, we turned around and rode back out to Old Winter Beach Road and then north on the sidewalk/bike path along A1A. This trail would be a better ride for mountain bikes.

I biked this trail in December 2008. It is on an old road that was orginal pathway that early settlers used to get to their fishing shacks. It now passes thru a US Wildlife refuge which has a very interesting display just off the trail. You can make it a circle by using the sidewalk along A1A. Highly recommended. Youker

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