The Willie Browne Trail has been on our list to go hike for months now. We loved the Spanish Pond Hike, and the Willie Browne Trail connects to that hike, and shares the same beautiful finishing lookout point.
The Parking at Willie Browne Trail is completely free, and generally plenty of parking to go around. This trail connects with the Spanish Pond trail and the parking lot area is a similar dirt lot. There were only 2-3 other cars when we were there.
There is no parking or any entrance fee at Willie Browne Trail which is a huge plus! Because the park is free if you really like what they are doing and you want to support them you can donate Here On their website it also says "You can help protect America's national treasures. Supporting your favorite park can be as simple as picking up a piece of trash during your visit, or as generous as volunteering your time long-term. Even the souvenirs or books you purchase to remember your visit contributes funds for special events and programs. Parks can also accept donations. The National Park Service works with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world. Partners like the Timucuan Trail Parks Foundation help the preserve achieve it's mission. Thank you for supporting America's national parks!" Having an amazing hiking trail like this that is completely free is very rare. Doing your part to atleast help keep it clean goes a long way!
The entire hiking trail is completely dog friendly. We saw one other dog on our hike. They have signs around the area requesting all dogs must be on a 6ft leash.
This hike starts with a decently wide dirt trail that eventually switches to sand. Even though the trail is wide the trees on either side are large and provide the perfect ammount of shade.
The trail to the observation tower is roughly 1 mile long each way but the detours we took brought our total hike to 2.3 miles. Eventually the trail leads you to a split in the road we chose to go right, which is the shorter distance to the lookout point, and would eventually take the other trail on the way back. The trail doesn't change much just the number of Fiddler crabs begins to increse the closer you get to the round marsh. We got the the observation tower, and took 10 to 15 minutes enjoying the beautiful marsh, and all of the birds, and fish we could see as well as got rehydrated, and prepared for the second half back to the parking lot.
On the way back to the parking lot we took the slightly longer trail that heads towards the red trail on the map. On this trail we came across a huge yellow spider whose web stretched across the entire wide trail. The spider's web started at about 5 1/2 feet high and reached around 10 feet high. We thankfully saw it in time, and were able to duck, and go under it. Nothing is worse than walking into a spider web like that. Eventually this trail splits 3 ways if you want to head back towards the parking lot you should go left here but if you are feeling like you got 3-4 more miles left in you I would suggest taking a right here. This will take you to the green trail which is a thinner and more treacherous adventure with plenty of awesome lookout points. If you went left you will soon see the Browne Cemetery to your left. It is surrounded by metal fencing, and has a few grave stones within. Soon after walking down this trail you get back on to the original trail you took up at the beginning of the hike.