Bulow Creek State Park is a historical and natural treasure located on Florida’s Ancient Coast. Since the early 1800’s, the Bulow Creek area was home to several well known plantations. Originally serving as land grants for British military officers and nobles, these plantations were in working order until the Second Seminole Wars when Native American forces destroyed many of the buildings, mills and farms that surrounded Bulow Creek.
Bulow Woods has survived the vast deforestation that occurred over the hundreds of years around the state. Planters cleared hundreds of acres nearby, but left sparse swathes of forest for hunting and fuel that still exist today. Bulow Woods is home to some of North Americas last remaining tracts of virgin Live Oaks and home to the 400+ year old Live Oak “The Fairchild Oak”.
Dr. David Fairchild, in which the tree was named for, was a botanist who introduced new species of exotic plants from around the world for cultivation. The Dr. visited Oak Ames at the Bulow Creek plantation on his many visits to his winter home in nearby Ormond Beach. Oak Ames was the director of the botanical museum at Harvard University during the 1940’s. Together with the help of his wife, they produced a book entitled “Drawings of Florida Orchids” which still serves today as a pictorial history of these amazing flowers that can still be see throughout the Bulow Creek Forest.
Today, the Bulow Creek State Parks fantastic history and cultural heritage can be explored via a number of ways. Mountain biking the popular 6.8 mile Bulow Woods trail is a great way to explore the surrounding forests, historical trees and plantation ruins. This fun ride can be a bit tough for beginners, but seasoned riders enjoy the challenges of exposed roots, muddy washouts and seasonal creeks that line the trail.
Hiking is the best way to see Bulow Creek State Park. There are several trails that wind through the park. Two of which start at the Fairchild Oak Trailhead on Old Dixie Highway. The Wahlin Trail is a unique trail that offers visitors an amazing look at the Florida Aquifer. An exposed groundwater spring seeps from a coquina rock bluff. Coquina is the shell/limestone rock formation used in many early American structures, including the nearby Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry structure in the United States.
For more information about how to get here, historical facts and hours of operation, visit the Bulow Creek State Park website here.