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This 9-mile trail along the C-18 Canal levee runs from Riverbend Park to Grassy Waters Preserve in Palm Beach Gardens. We discovered it while exploring Riverbend Park and rode a portion near the Park - we plan a future visit to see more. The trail is part of the "Jeaga Wildways" - an initiative in Palm Beach and Martin Counties utilizing conservation lands for outdoor recreation (more below). Bluegill Trail connects 4 Jeaga Wildways areas: Riverbend Park, Loxahatchee Slough Natural Area, Sandhill Crane Access Park, and Grassy Waters Preserve. Along the trail are a shaded shelter, an overlook, fishing pier, and 2 information kiosks. Three Parks along the trail provide restrooms and other amenities.
Map link... Bluegill Trail
Location: Palm Beach County (Palm Beach Gardens)
End Points: Riverbend Park to Grassy Waters Preserve (C-18 Canal)
Mileage: 9 miles
Surface: Crushed shell, stone, some asphalt
Nearby points of interest: Riverbend Park, Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park
A 6-mile section of trail between Riverbend Park and Sandhill Crane Access Park (at PGA Blvd.) is 10' wide unpaved composite, best for fat tires. A 2-mile section from Sandhill Crane Access Park to Northlake Blvd. (at Bee Line Highway) is 12' wide, paved multi-use trail. Along Northlake Blvd., the trail runs another 1 mile on a sidewalk to Grassy Waters Preserve.
Exiting Riverbend Park to the south is the C-18 Canal. A bridge here crosses the canal - staying on the west side of the canal, the Pantano Trail runs 10 miles southwest. The Bluegill Trail is across the bridge on the east side of the canal. The trailhead has an information kiosk, but no other facilities (visit Riverbend Park for restrooms and other amenities).
The surface here is somewhat rough and best on fat tires, but overall a bikeable canal trail. The pros: unlike many other canal trails, this is not near a road so it's quiet. The cons: like most canal trails, the scenery doesn't change much and there's little or no shade. This section runs through the Palm Beach Country Estates development, homes can be seen trailside. Water control structures are situated at regular intervals along the canal. The grass path on the levee next to the trail is used by equestrians.
Formerly called the "Northeast Everglades Natural Area," this is an interconnected system of natural areas and trails consisting of over 160,000 acres of conservation lands in Palm Beach and Martin Counties. The Jeaga Wildways - named for the Native American Jeaga Tribe that once inhabited the area - incorporates 4 trails (Bluegill, Pantano, Jesup, and Jupiter Indiantown) to connect 10 separately managed sections of public land. Recreational opportunities include 300+ miles of trail for biking, hiking, equestrian, and paddling. Ongoing plans include adding trailheads and other amenities for recreational users.
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