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Hike the Panther Point trail
DESCRIPTION: THIS IS A STRICTLY ENFORCED REQUIREMENT: EACH HIKER WILL NEED TO BE CARRYING A WATER MINIMUM TO BEGIN THIS HIKE. IF A HIKER DOES NOT HAVE THE REQUIRED MINIMUM AMOUNT OF WATER, THEY WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO SIGN-IN AND PARTICIPATE ON THIS FTA SPONSORED HIKE. FOR THE SIX MILE HIKE, THE MINIMUN IS ONE LITER OR QUART AND FOR THE TEN MILE HIKE, THE MINIMUN IS TWO LITERS OR QUARTS. Participants can select to walk six miles - three miles in and three miles back to the trailhead. OR participants can select to walk ten miles - five miles to the current end of the active trail and then five miles return. The Panther Point Trail is along the east side of Lake Hancock and a longitudinal trail that has just been completed for the first 5 miles running south from the Marshall Hampton Reserve. (Ultimately, this will be a 10-mile trail that will connect with the Fort Fraser Trail at Route US 98.) This beautiful trail winds through pasture land and along lakes (once phosphate mining pits) that are filled with island rookeries for many types of birds. It also features some rolling terrain through shady hammocks, and, of course, offers fantastic vistas through the lush shoreline vegetation across the lake to Circle B Bar Reserve. Along the way is the stunning new bridge that allows for water control between the water-filled pits and the lake. The trail is a flat surface, compacted in places but not paved. The trail follows berms that were created by the mining operation to prevent lake water incursion. Link to trail map: BRING OR WEAR: Sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots (no flip flops or barefoot), water, snacks and/or lunch, and insect protection. It is MANDATORY to bring water. See information in the above description.

Trailhead for Marshall Hampton Tract

3115 Thornhill Road · Winter Haven, FL

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The Heartland Chapter is one of 18 chapters for the Florida Trail Association. The FTA is a volunteer group that maintains the Florida National Scenic Trail, a 1500 mile thru hiking trail from Big Cypress to the Panhandle. The Heartland Chapter is responsible for the maintenance of the trail in Polk, Highlands, Hardee and Desoto counties. We also maintain several loop trails throughout Polk County. Visit us at for more information about our chapter. Or go to to learn more about the Florida Trail Association.

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