For those looking for a longer hike in a special environment, try combining a mix of the colored trails of the GTM.  The longer nature of the hike and range of environments will help you understand why these spot is one of only 29 National Estuarine Research Reserves in the entire country.

The GTM Long Hike Experience

If you want a little more of a workout and have some additional time to spend enjoying unique Ponte Vedra environments, try combining the Yellow, Purple and Red Trails in the GTM Research Reserve.

As one of only 29 National Estuarine Research Reserves across the nation, the GTM can provide a diverse mix of background information about what you’ll see on the hikes.  The wildlife on these trails can be special and you might see great blue herons, snowy egrets, storks, roseate spoonbills, pelicans, owls, deer, gopher tortoises, mussels, clams and oysters.

You will start the hike at the Trailhead Pavilion on the Yellow Trail.  Once you intersect with the Purple Trail turn left and proceed through heavily vegetative portions of the hike.  Rather than continuing on the Purple Trail, stay south on the Red Trail which will bring you along the Tolomato River.  After hiking the full Red loop, head back on the Purple and Yellow Trails to the Trailhead Pavilion starting point.  You will have logged about 5.8 miles on this connection of trails.

There are a series of benches provided along the hikes so take your time, sit for a while and take in the unique environments.  Make sure to use the bench and take in the vista from the point where the Guana and Tolomato Rivers connect along the Red Trail.

Additional pre-hike interpretation and trail maps are available at the Environmental Education Center as you enter the GTM Research Reserve. If you’re one that wants additional depth, there are also guided hikes and indoor presentations often available and their availability can be determined by calling the GTM.

As a natural Preserve, these lands are particularly sensitive and can be easily damaged.   You can be a “Sustainable PVB Guest” by keeping these tips in mind.

  • Stay on designated paths to prevent trampling on sensitive plants and animals – these Preserve environments are very sensitive.
  • Keep the “natural” in “natural areas” by packing in what you pack out.
  • Make sure to bring your own water bottle and fill before coming out.
  • Stop by the GTM Environmental Education Center to better understand these unique ecosystems and support this important institution.


Experience: GTM Long Hike

Address: The GTM Environmental Education Center is located at  505 Guana River Road, Ponte Vedra Beach FL 32082  – for trail access keep straight once you turn on Guana River Road, stop at pay station for entry access, go past the Guana Dam parking lot on a dirt road which leads to the trail parking lot.

Entrance Fee: $3 parking fee

Hours: For the trails – 8am to sunset, for the Environmental Education Center 9am to 4pm

Website :

Facilities Available : The Guana Trails provides easy parking and the Trailhead Pavilion gives a mix of background information about the hikes.  There are restrooms at the Pavilion and a variety of benches along the trails are great spots to stop and take in the natural beauty of the Preserve.

Level of Difficulty: Easy to moderate – all hikes are on relatively level ground and are easy to access.

Other Information:

Tips From The Experts

  1. For easiest access, park at the west end of the Guana Dam, past the pay station, near the Trailhead Pavilion.
  2. Go before 11am. You will see more wildlife in the cooler parts of the day and it makes for an easier time on the trail.
  3. Make sure to stop into the Environmental Education Center either before or after your hike to learn more about this unique area.