Hiking and Biking at
Gilley Creek Tract


Geocaching at
Gilley Creek Tract

SWFWMD Gilley Creek Tract Information


PDF Trail Map


Photo Album

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Scott Veix - infiniteMPG
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View of Gilley creek - N27 30.161 W82 17.681

GILLEY CREEK TRACT INTRODUCTION

This webpage and it’s content is intended as an introduction and compilation of information to help hikers, mountain bikers, and geocachers get the most from their experience visiting South West Florida Water Management District’s (SWFWMD) Gilley Creek Tract area of the Lake Manatee Reserve in Manatee County, Florida. Located just east of Lake Manatee State Park this 5,800 acre area is open to the public from sunrise to sunset for hiking, biking, fishing and equestrian use. The 12 miles of multi-use trails wind thru pine flatwoods, pastures, along creek beds and thru beautiful oak hammocks. The area is home to many of Florida’s wildlife species including deer, coyote, bobcat, panther, wild hog and numerous birds species.


Watering Hole - N27 30.952 W82 17.449

Some short sections of trail in the southern section around Oak Knoll Road are leased to farmers for occasional cattle grazing but the trails are always open for use thru these sections. For the extreme geocachers there are currently 33 geocaches located within the tract including 3 multi-caches and 1 mystery cache.


Orchard Gate - N27 31.074 W82 16.801

HISTORY

This tract of land was originally part of Rutland Ranch, a family owned cattle ranch that encompassed much of the area from Duette to Parrish. This tract is located just off of SR 675 which is also known as Rutland Road. This area is now SWFWMD property maintained to protect the main branch of Gilley Creek. This flows into Lake Manatee which is the primary source for drinking water for the residents of Manatee County. The goal of SWFWMD in this area is to restore the hydrology or natural flow of water thru the land since in the 1950’s, when this was Rutland Ranch, the area was extensively ditched for the pastures and crop lands.


Misty Morning at Gilley Tract Parking - N27 29.881 W82 18.695

ACCESS and PARKING

Presently there is only one public parking location and this is near the southern most section of the tract (N27 29.881 W82 18.695). I-75 Exit 220 SR64, travel east approximately 11 miles and turn left (north) on SR 675 just past the Manatee Fish Camp. Travel approximately 1-1/2 miles on SR 675 and you will find a passageway over the ditch to the grass parking lot on your right (northeast side of the roadway). You can also get here traveling east approximately 9-1/2 miles on SR 675 from 301 near Parrish. This is sectioned off with a barbed wire fence and has an opening for hikers and bikers and a large gate for equestrian passage. They is a lot of room for parking both vehicles and horse trailers so please do not block either of the entrances.

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