Beginning Jan. 16, Florida Power and Light will be conducting routine maintenance and replacement of large transmission poles. During this time, the South Powerline Trail will be closed temporarily for an estimated three weeks. The Well Field Road trail or the nearby North Port Connector trail would make great alternative trails during the closure.
January 22, 2024 Update
Due to 47+ inches of rain in the past 10 days, many trails have standing water in addition to the usual trouble spots: last section on the trail to Windy Sawgrass Camp, Tiger Marsh, two wetlands on the west end of the Rocky Ford Trail and Vicker's Head Trail. Other crossings are still wet on the red trail and Stockade Trail at marker 8. Mowing and tilling to correct trail ruts and prevent fire spread is in progress on drier trials. Though trails may not have standing water, tractor mowers are unable to mow without leaving muddy ruts.
NEW "YOU ARE HERE" SIGNS
The Carlton Reserve is large (roughly 25,000 acres) and does not have a distinctive directional feature (mountain peak or river). People do get lost in the park. Volunteers have deployed “You Are Here” Signs/Maps at
12 key locations in the park. The locations are where there is a higher probability of people passing by if they become disoriented. Signs with maps were placed at these locations some time back, and the plan was deemed good. However, some changes in the map and in the quality of the signs was recommended. Professionally made signs and updated maps have now been located in the Carlton, and the Friends of Carlton Reserve paid for the professional signs. The first 6 signs were located at markers #5, #15, #22, #35, #61 and #67 and more are planned. Attached is a photo of the sign post at marker #67 (the eastern entrance to the park) and of the source map included in that sign. The volunteers assist the County in many capacities.
Trail Notes for Biking/Hiking updated 1/3/2023
Backcountry trails are seasonally flooded but Hurricane Ian has aggravated flooding and the obstruction of trails throughout the Reserve and delayed the mowing schedule.
South Powerline and Wellfield Loop Road are usually reliable.
WE CAN NOT CHECK EVERY TRAIL REGULARLY--WHEN WE HAVE INFORMATION, WE WILL POST IT HERE. CONTACT US VIA E-MAIL (CarltonFriend@comcast.net) TO OBTAIN TRAIL INFORMATION NOT POSTED HERE OR TO REPORT TRAIL CONDITIONS.
All trails beyond the handicapped access public area are multi-use trails. Please be courteous and safe to other trail users. Many Backcountry Trails have recent hog damage--this makes bike riding difficult until rains settle the surface. Most trails may also double as firebreaks and may have been disced by tractors or otherwise conditioned to expose the soil which may become sandy in places. Be alert to regular prescribed burns. Stay clear of burn personnel and equipment. Get burn schedule at Sarasota call center: 861 5000.
Use the map link (below) to download the current trail map but be advised that trail conditions change daily with rains, hog rooting, wild and controlled fires, timber thinning, water facility construction, and powerline maintenance.
Problem Areas and Changes
Rocky Ford Trail has two wetlands on the west end which are frequently wet. Use the cutover at 54 through the Homestead Campsite at 55 to access Rocky Ford. Trail may be flooded seasonally west of new pumping station between 12 and 53. 57 to 56 is no longer mowed or maintained.
Vicker’s Head Trail is frequently wet or flooded in places north from 19.
Light Blue cutover trail from red to power line is mowed but often wet.
Tiger Marsh area and east of Blackmon’s Camp is seasonally wet in the NE quadrant of the Reserve and may not have been mowed due to water on trail.
South Power line east of Mabry Carlton Parkway and Well Field Loop Road are in good condition.
Stockade Trail from 13 to 15 is mostly grassy but may be seasonally sandy or muddy. Stream crossings north of #8 and #9.
Turpentine Trail, north from 20, is raised for the first mile. There are seasonally wet areas between 20A and 27.
Self-guiding trails are seasonally flooded.
South Border Trail between T. Mabry Carlton Parkway, Deer Prairie Slough and 67 has frequent hog damage and may be seasonally flooded or muddy.
The SWFWMD recreational map is available free. It covers Deer Prairie and other SWFWMD lands. Order from their web site. SWFWMD (Click on Recreation)
There are signs (placed by Eagle Scouts) on named trails to aide the public in navigating the Reserve.
Brochure with trail map is available in cabin or visitor kiosks.
Photograph kiosk map with cellphone OR download maps above.
Prescribed Burn Zone Map: Click to view
SWFWMD The SWFWMD recreational maps are free. Order from SWFWMD web site.
Florida Trails from Florida Trails Association
Florida Trails Network Interactive Trails Database for State of Florida with map viewer