(Last Updated On: January 2, 2023)
Entrance to Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park

Entrance to Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park. Photo: Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park is a natural area consisting of pine flatwoods and coastal uplands along the Nassau and St. Johns rivers just 12 miles north of Jacksonville. This serene wildlife preserve lies west of Big and Little Talbot Islands and features trails, picnic areas, plus opportunities for visitors to fish, birdwatch and kayak.

Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park is one of seven island state parks in the Jacksonville area. These parks, known as the Talbot Islands include Big Talbot Island State Park, Amelia Island State Park, Little Talbot Island State Park, George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier State Park, Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park and Fort George Island Cultural State Park.

Activities

Picnic under the pines or along the picturesque salt marsh; explore the miles of trails that stretch throughout the park and into nearby Jacksonville; and learn more about the Timucua Indians, turpentine and rosin production, and ‘cat faces’ (marks that were left on the pine trees during the late 1800s).

Here are some of the activities that you can do during your visit to Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park:

Boating at Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park

Paddle along the serene saltmarshes and pristine estuary during your visit to Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park. A hand launch is located at the end of Pumpkin Hill Road for guests who bring their own canoes and kayaks. This area also includes picnic tables and restrooms.

Rentals are available outside the park at nearby Kayak Amelia, located between Big Talbot and Little Talbot islands. This concessionaire also carries maps, souvenirs and snacks and offers guided paddle trips.

Hiking at Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park

Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park features a 3 mile nature trail, multi-use trails and an Interpretive Garden Trail for visitors to stretch their legs and see some of the area’s flora and fauna. The main trailhead begins near the main parking area and from there the trails extend throughout the park’s longleaf pines, scrubby flatwoods, swampland and marsh. A couple of these trails connect to city trails within nearby Jacksonville.

Biking at Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park

Bring your mountain bikes and explore the sandy trails through the pine flatwoods. Some sections may be more difficult than others due to the soft sand and seasonal flooding. Helmets are required by Florida law for all riders under the age of 16.

Horseback Riding at Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park

Ride along the sandy equestrian trails inside Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park. These trails spread throughout the preserve and connect to other parks within Jacksonville. Horses are welcome in the picnic area and the park offers a horse trough for thirsty animals passing through. A negative Coggins report must accompany each horse that enters the park.

Fishing at Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park

Fish for sea trout, redfish and flounder along the unspoiled tidal creeks at Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park.

Fishing is allowed from your boat or along the shoreline. The park does not sell fishing licenses so be sure to plan ahead and pick up a Florida fishing license ahead of time.

You’ll also find ideal conditions for saltwater fishing at nearby Big Talbot Island. There you can catch flounder, pompano, whiting, redfish, black drum and sea trout along the bridge overlooking Simpson’s Creek.

Birding at Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park

Bird watching is popular throughout the park’s longleaf pine forest, salt marshland, scrubby flatwoods and along the rivers. Remember to bring your binocular and bird lists, you may see Red-tailed hawks, bald eagles, wood stork, egrets, Roseate Spoonbills, ospreys, ibis, terns, Black Skimmers, Brown Pelicans, woodpeckers, doves and owls.

Nature and Wildlife at Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park

Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park inhabits some 4,000 acres of forest, cypress groves, maritime hammock, scrubby flatwoods and tidal marshlands along the St John and Nassau rivers. It is one of the largest contiguous areas of protected coastal upland and it lies adjacent to the crucial Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, an area consisting of 46,000 acres of undeveloped estuarine habitat.

This important area protects many species of wildlife including White-tailed deer, fox squirrels, wild turkeys, gopher tortoise and timber rattlesnakes.

Pets at Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park

Pets are allowed at Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park but must be supervised and kept on a hand held leash no longer than 6 feet. Pets are not permitted inside park buildings or along the shore.

Camping Near Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park

Visit Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park for the day and then drive over to nearby Little Talbots Island State Park and camp under the stars and near the coast.

This Florida state park, located at 12157 Heckscher Drive in Jacksonville, has 36 campsites with electric and water hookups, a picnic table and a fire ring. Sites are within walking distance to restrooms, hot showers and laundry facilities. For more information and to make a reservation call: 800-326-3521.

Park Location

Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park
13802 Pumpkin Hill Road
Jacksonville, FL 32226
Phone: 904.696.5980

Park Website

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park: