It's Trail Tuesday, my friends! This week, let's talk about one of my favorite places close to home – the Chinsegut Wildlife and Environmental Area.
The Chinsegut WEA is seven miles north of Brooksville, and is split into two different sections. At the 408-acre Chinsegut Conservation Center, you'll find all sorts of cool stuff. There are different ways to access the property. You can park at the center when they are open on Fridays and Saturdays, or park at the Prairie-to-Pines Trailhead and hike up the Prairie-to-Pines trail up to the loop around May's Prairie. I usually park at the Prairie-to-Pines Trailhead and hike the loop around May's Prairie, stopping at the wildlife blind to check out sandhill cranes, deer or whatever else might happen to be hanging around. This is an excellent birding location, so make sure to bring those long lenses with you – make sure to take a look at the video above of the cranes in May's Prairie, too!
There are a few spur trails along the loop that will give you a different vantage point on May's Prairie, so take time to explore them all. Make sure to check out the spur trail that leads up to the conservation center and around the 1800s Bishop Homestead site, too. All told, you can have a really nice four-mile loop hike at the Chinsegut Conservation Center.
To stretch things out, you can hike the Prairie-to-Pines Trail to the Big Pine Tract, which is the other part of the Chinsegut Wildlife and Environmental Area. If you don't want to hike over, there's a parking area at the Big Pine Tract. This is the second largest tract of old-growth longleaf pine in Florida, with several trails that loop and crisscross the property. Keep a lookout for red-headed woodpeckers here, I see them quite often!
The Chinsegut WEA also hosts a number of guided outings and events throughout the year, so make sure you take a look at the calendar and see what's coming up. For more information, directions and maps, take a look at the Chinsegut WEA web page.
Don't forget to visit the trails section of VISITFLORIDA.com for more great places to explore! www.visitflorida.com/trails