My husband and I traveled down to Key Largo for some biking at Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park just this past weekend, and as I'd read, the area open to the public has been expanded. The defunct greeting fountain has been turned into a picnic area (within the fountain walls), and a tunnel that had been blocked is now open, allowing visitors access to a large portion of the area via paths and trails. Of course the signs warning against straying from the trail are everywhere, but even just the trails offer a great view of the natural area and waterways.
This trip we were greeted by a ranger who collected a couple of dollars from each of us, but he was gone by the time we left (around 5:00). Also, there were quite a few other visitors - the parking lot was 3/4 full, which had never happened on our previous visits, but it's nice to see this park getting some use!
This state park has grown quite a bit since I was last there in 1999. Back then, it was little more than a straight path through the woods, passing through the grand arch at the entrance and walking by a fountain intended to greet homeowners at the planned (but never completed) Port Bougainvillea condominium development. I'll be honest, I had the most fun sneaking past the chain-link fence and exploring the half-finished buildings and deteriorating docks!
Now Key Largo Hammock features a nature walk, including a butterfly garden and picnic table, along the 1/2 mile entrance road to the development. Guided tours are offered on Thursday and Sunday mornings. If you stop at John Pennekamp Park first and fill out a back country form at the ranger station, you'll be granted access to another six miles of trails through the hammock.
Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park is open from 8 AM to sunset every day of the year. The park is located on the east side of County Road 905 (Card Sound Road) about 1/4 mile from its intersection with US Highway 1. The entrance is just past the mapped point.
Approximate price: $1.50 per person
Location:Loquat Dr & CR-905
Key Largo FL 33037
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