He promoted for security of these sweeping damp landscapes as a National Wildlife Refuge when NASA started prepare for Kennedy Space Center in 1962.

Cruickshank resided in Cocoa and was a National Audubon Society personnel professional photographer as well as an author of birding books.

Located nearly halfway along the one-way path of Black Point Wildlife Drive, the Allan Cruickshank Memorial Trail honors a nationally-renowned regional ornithologist.

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is a top birding website in Florida

However, walking the complete loop, best done early in the day or on a cool winters day, will let you enjoy birding along a breezy coast of the Indian River Lagoon.

Most visitors only take a brief walk out to the observation platform over the salt marsh and the observation tower above the impoundments.

Hikers unwittingly strolling past an alligator

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Introduction

Open dawn to dusk. A National Parks Pass, Duck Stamp, or Federal Public Lands Pass covers your parking cost.

Bikes are not permitted on the trail.

Its great to arrive early for this walking as it is completely exposed to the components. Sun security is a must. While its usually windy here, when it isnt, youll desire bug spray
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In addition to your hiking time, plan an hour minimum to drive around Black Point Wildlife Drive to access the trailhead.

Because of the large number of alligators here, pets arent an excellent concept. View small children carefully. Do not get within twenty feet of an alligator.

Area: TitusvilleLength: 4.8 mile loopTrailhead: 28.678159, -80.771798 Fees: Included in Black Point Wildlife Drive, $10 per vehicle or $2 per bicycleRestroom: Portable toilet at trailheadLand manager: Merritt Island NWRPhone: 321-861-0669

Directions

The last stretch of the levee has open water on both sides. At 4.6 miles, you reach the broad, high observation deck.

Beyond it, the path follows a levee around a number of impoundment locations. It is the on-foot equivalent of Wildlife Drive, narrow and surrounded by water.

The observation deck nearest the kiosk constantly yields bird sightings.

Previous the instrumentation station, the trail grows rough. No longer a jeep track, it becomes hummocky and uneven, although the park personnel keeps the yard cut.

Check out the water as you drift around the far corner. Tiny fish and seashells are visible against the white sand bottom. The lagoon itself is dark, stained with tannic acid.

Past Marker 1, the observation platform near the trailhead is visible. A telephone pole offers a favored perch for cormorants drying their wings.

In the impoundment, grassy islands provide method to more considerable islands anchored by mangroves. Pass Marker 2. The levee diverts in an arc towards Wildlife Drive.

Open water is in the center of the impoundment.

Open water in the impoundment.

A reddish egret encounters a mudflat.

Climb and survey the marsh. Youve skirted the impoundment. The natural salt marsh lies east, beyond the levee.

At 0.8 mile is the first possibility to relax and sit on a shaded bench. There are a number of along the path. Anticipate to walk more slowly for the next four miles.

Right before the next covered bench at 3.6 miles, a juniper grows along the waters edge.

A long, narrow mangrove island creates a canal in between the lagoon and the levee. In summertime, marsh mallow towers up to 10 feet high, waving its massive pink flowers in the breeze.

By Marker 3, youre 2 miles in. After the trail curves around a little lagoon, another covered bench appears at 2.2 miles.

High clumps of big cordgrass grow along the levees edge. When the wind picks up, the waters of the impoundment area whip to waves.

Walking.

The levee zigzags for the next quarter mile as it goes back to the beginning of the arc. Across the water, you can plainly see where youve been.

Strolling the last stretch near to the water, keep alert for alligators. Stop at the last ignore to see what birds are there. The kiosk is ahead, completion of the loop after 4.8 miles.

A green heron on the edge of a pond.

The properly maintained stretch of trail ends after the very first bench.

An opening in the mangroves supplies a view of North Titusville. Left wing, NASAs Vehicle Assembly Building emerges in the range.

As the levee drifts right, the marsh on the left resembles an open grassy field, with high cordgrass swaying on each island.

A mullet moves its whole body into the air, landing back into the water with an excellent plop. A cabbage palm rustles in the wind. An osprey calls out with its distinct cry.

The sweep of the trail north from the observation deck.

Looking over the salt marsh to the east.

Trail Map.

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From Interstate 95 exit 220, Titusville, follow SR 406 east for 8 miles to cross limit Brewer Bridge and the causeway to Merritt Island. Stay left at the divide in the roadway to advance CR 406. See for the well-marked entrance on the. Drive 3.4 miles along the 7 mile dirt roadway to get to the trailhead.

Start your hike with a stop at the interpretive kiosk, then continue counterclockwise towards the salt marsh observation deck, a low platform not far from the parking location.

Looking throughout to Wildlife Drive.

White mangroves edge the path on the right, offering a windbreak against the open waters. They part quickly at 1.4 miles for a sweeping view of the lagoon.

Listen for the sounds around you. An alligator splashes into the water from its lazy spot below a mangrove, causing peeps and squawks in the bushes.

Looking back on the curve of the path from the observation deck, Titusville in the background.

Check out More!

Slideshow.

See our pictures from the Cruickshank Trail.

Merritt Island National Wildlife RefugeBlanketing the north end of Merritt Island in between the Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge secures 140,000 acres with some of the very best birding in Florida.

Black Point Wildlife DriveWinding along a narrow dirt roadway, Black Point Wildlife Drive offers from-your-car birding in the marshes and mud flats of Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Close-by Adventures.

There are several along the path. In the impoundment, grassy islands give way to more significant islands anchored by mangroves. The levee veers in an arc towards Wildlife Drive.

From Interstate 95 exit 220, Titusville, follow SR 406 east for 8 miles to cross the Max Brewer Bridge and the causeway to Merritt Island. Drive 3.4 miles along the 7 mile dirt road to get to the trailhead.

Discover more about Black Point Wildlife Drive and the Refuge.

More to explore in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Haven Map (PDF) Official Website.