When walking back from a trail at Circle B the other day, a fellow nature enthusiast asked us if we saw anything interesting. After I responded that we saw gators, eagles, ospreys, and a variety of other animals, he smiled and said, “so the regulars?”. Yep, that’s right — even during the hottest months of the year, you can count on spotting some beautiful animals on every hike. This is especially true if you head out to the reserve in the morning hours.
I recently wrote a blog post about shaded parks and trails to enjoy in the greater Tampa area, and I did not include Circle B in it. While this park is awesome for spotting wildlife, the trails that are open in the summer get fairly hot, as they aren’t very shaded. Besides Shady Oak Trail and the section of Alligator Alley that’s open, the other trails are pretty exposed to the sun. If you are sensitive to the heat/sun, I recommend visiting the park during the cooler months and hiking Shady Oak Trail to Alligator Alley and turning around and going back the way you came OR taking Alligator Alley to Heron Hideout (faster than walking back Alligator Alley and Shady Oak but also hotter).
Curious as to why some of the better-shaded trails are closed in the hotter months? In the summer, parts of Alligator Alley and all of Marsh Rabbit close to accommodate the gators during nesting season. This reserve really prioritizes the health of its wildlife, which is amazing. And, it’s kind of exciting waiting to hear (usually in September) that the temporarily closed trails are opening back up.
What to Know Before You go:
+ For regular trail updates, check Circle B Bar Reserve’s website and/or Polk County’s Parks and Recreation’s website.
+ Like I said, it can get fairly hot out on the trails here in summer so dress for the heat. I suggest bringing a hat with you. You’ll also want to bring plenty of water.
+ There are really nice facilities at the reserve, but they are only open during select hours Tuesday-Sunday. (For details about the hours, check out Circle B’s website I shared above.) If you need to use the restroom when the nature center isn’t open, there are portable toilets available.
+ It wouldn’t hurt to pack bug spray with you because it’s indeed Florida.
Get in Touch
Have you visited Circle B before? If so, when is your favorite time of year to visit? Let me know by commenting below or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org