Hike, Bike & Nature: Egans Greenway, Amelia Island

Egans Greenway is a 300-acre preserve. It’s a peaceful, natural area, great for a bike ride, hike, nature & wildlife observation & photography. WATCH VIDEO.

Egans Greenway is a natural area encompassing over 300 acres on Amelia Island, managed by the city of Fernandina Beach, Florida. It has evolved over the years into one of the best places to glimpse local wildlife on Amelia Island. It’s one of the most peaceful spots on this barrier island to spend time outdoors in nature.

Part of the Florida Forever Conservation Program, the acreage was acquired by the Florida Communities Trust and the city of Fernandina Beach. Watch an Egans Greenway video below and learn more about the wildlife you might see, plus info about guided walking tours.

This short video overview offers glimpses of some of the beautiful native wildflowers, the grassy paths and natural vistas.

Over 300 acres that run north to south along Egans Creek, the Greenway was opened for public use in the summer of 2000 as an undeveloped park for passive recreational use. Wide, grass-covered pathways are perfect for walking or a leisurely bike ride at slower pace with frequent stops to observe nature. (Note that no motorized vehicles are allowed in the Greenway.)

Respect Wildlife

A natural sanctuary for wildlife, various kinds of creatures live, nest, and feed in the Greenway. Thus, be sure not to stray off the walking trails. Also, do be considerate when passing through, respect wildlife, this is their habitat, their home. Think of it as an outdoor library — please use “quiet voices.”

Bird Watching

Almost any day one ventures into the Greenway for a walk or bike ride, you’ll likely spot a variety of wildflowers and/or bird species. Egrets, Ibis, Great Blue Herons, Pileated and Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, and Wood Storks can be sighted. The Greenway is a haven for birding enthusiasts and wildlife photographers.

Amelia Island Roseate Spoonbills (Egans Greenway)
Amelia Island Roseate Spoonbills (Egans Greenway)

Also frequenting the Greenway in summer months are Roseate Spoonbills, the large wading birds with a beautiful pink hue. Butterflies love a variety of wild flowers in the Greenway, including purple passion vine and Spanish Needle (Beggarticks) on this barrier island in northeast Florida.

Alligators

Alligators Are Commonly Spotted In Egans Greenway on Amelia Island
Alligators Are Commonly Spotted In Egans Greenway on Amelia Island

You’ll see signs warning to “beware” of alligators and not to feed them in both sides of the Greenway. It’s fairly common to see a gators in Egans Creek, especially in the south section of the Greenway. They hang around in areas with thick green duckweed floating on the water.

Brown saltmarsh rabbits hop along the grassy paths and turtles are often seen sunning themselves on logs in the creek. The Greenway has many critters including bobcats. It’s a sanctuary for local residents who appreciate a peaceful spot to enjoy nature. On very lucky occasions, one might spot river otters in the creek.

Safety Guidelines

The city of Fernandina Beach offers some guidelines for the Greenway trails, to keep in mind:

“Stay on designated trails. Wild animals may react defensively or simply take flight if approached too closely. If you are lucky enough to observe a wild animal in its natural environment, enjoy it from a safe distance. Be alert for natural hazards such as stinging or biting insects, alligators, snakes, thorny vines, poison ivy, and overhanging limbs. Leave plants and animals undisturbed. Keep the noise level you produce to a minimum so as not to disturb wildlife and other trail users. Pack out all trash that you bring to the area. Remove any waste that your pet(s) may leave on the trails.”

How To Enter Greenway

To go into the Greenway’s north section, go to the city of Fernandina’s Atlantic Avenue Recreation Center, located at 2500 Atlantic Avenue, where you’ll find the entrance behind the building. This is a good place to park a vehicle to enter the north side of the Greenway, as you can utilize the Recreation Center’s large parking lot as well as public restrooms at this Greenway entrance/exit. If you have kids or your grandchildren with you, there’s also a nice Pirate Playground near the Greenway entrance at the Rec Center location. Trail maps are available at Fernandina’s Atlantic Recreation Center during business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 am – 6 pm. Another entry/exit point to both the north section and south section is along Jasmine Street (between Citrona and South Fletcher Ave.), with limited parking along the side of the road. Another entrance/exit of the SOUTH section is located behind the Amelia Island Residence Inn on Sadler Road (with several Greenway dedicated parking spaces).

Greenway Tours

Want to take a guided walking tour to learn about flora and fauna? Tours are held twice a month and require advance registration (at least a week ahead of time). Call the Fernandina Beach Atlantic Rec Center for further info and schedule at 904-310-3350.

Green Bridge

At eight feet wide and 500 feet long, the south Greenway’s pedestrian bridge, built by Fernandina Beach, winds its way through Egans Creek’s wetlands. Entry to this foot bridge and the southern section of Egans Greenway is located off Sadler Road behind Amelia Island’s Residence Inn. Nature Bridges built the foot bridge, utilizing green bridge construction. A technique called “top down construction,” was implemented to accomplish the task, which means the machinery and equipment used to build the foot bridge stayed on the structure, not the ground, virtually eliminating destruction of sensitive vegetation and wildlife habitats. Nature Bridges also used recycled structural plastic for the decking and handrails.