I was up in Jacksonville for a few days a month ago, visiting my best friend while she was in town for a wedding. I had some time to kill while she did some wedding prep so I made my way down to the Moses Creek Conversation Area. It’s about 15 minutes south of St Augustine, between US1 and US1A on the 206. It’s a fairly large area, covering over 2,100 acres and serving as one of the few tidal creeks in the region that have remained undeveloped.
I parked at the east trailhead. There were a few cars around, and as I started the trail I encountered two separate families and a large group of elderly women out for a nice hike. I think they only make it to the campsite. After 5 minutes the initial canopy opens up, and you are walking on a open grassy trail with pines on the side. Lots of green (and yellow). After 1/4 mile you can turn right to go to the campsite.
I kept on going straight instead. The grassy ground and surrounding trees turns into a white sand path with tree cover one one side, and a mostly open area on the right. The sand was a bit annoying to walk on, so I took to the edges by the trees which was somewhat grassy and firmer. There are a few forks and spurs here, but keeping on the widest patch of white sand keeps you going on the main path.
After another 1/4 mile you find yourself under canopy again. To be honest, the trail up until his point was a bit boring: mostly straight with not much to see. Plus the sun beats down on you. From here the path curves a lot more and the ever surrounding presence of trees leaves you visually stimulated.
At the 1.3 mile mark, you get to the bluff observation point. This was the highlight of the hike for me. You get a beautiful view of the Moses Creek (which is a tributary of the Matanzas River which is off to the east) as it winds through the marshland. The view is incredible. There are some stairs and a metal dock so you can get down to the creek itself. The hike had been virtually lifeless with regards to wildlife up til this point, but there were tons of birds in this spot.
Lack of adequate water supplies and a need to get back to my friend made me turn back at this point. There are miles and miles more trails after the spot I turned around at, which I will have to come back to some day. Moses Creek also has some mountain biking trails (I almost walked into one, before I saw a “Wrong way” sign posted on a tree haha) and you can kayak the river. Horseback riding, fishing, and camping are other activities you can enjoy here.