Riverbend Park – Palm Beach County Outdoor Gem
SO MUCH TO DO
Paddle, pedal, hike, horseback ride, look for birds, take photographs, attend a Seminole War battle re-enactment — or just find a shady chickee hut and watch the world go by.
There’s always something happening in Riverbend Park.
JUPITER OUTDOOR CENTER offers guided canoe and kayak tours along the Wild & Scenic L0xahatchee River. Our pedal & paddle tour lets you see the park from a a bicycle and a watercraft. Our Mangrove Mystery Tour launches from nearby Sawfish Bay.
Did You Know:
Riverbend Park has more than 10 miles of shady, curvy bicycle trails. There are many gazebos with picnic tables thatched roofs for shade for rest stops. The stops have maps to make getting around easy.
TRAPPER NELSON TOURS
JUPITER OUTDOOR CENTER offers a tour to Trapper Nelson’s former zoo and refuge. Experience the solitude and majesty of the river and discover how the Wild Man of the Loxahatchee lived and thrived for over 3 decades. Paddling just past Trapper Nelson’s interpretive site you will meet up with our mother ship and motor back to The Jupiter Inlet while experiencing the unique transition from the wilderness of a freshwater cypress swamp with alligators to an urban saltwater coastal estuary with manatees.
Click here to sign up for a tour.
Did You Know:
Filled with exotic and wild animals, Trapper Nelson’s zoo was a popular tourist spot in the 1940s and 1950s, visited by local and national celebrities. Because of this, he became known locally as “Tarzan of the Loxahatchee.”
WILD & SCENIC
There are only two Florida rivers designated by the federal government as Wild & Scenic — and one to them is the Loxahatchee River in Riverbend Park.
The designation provides strong protection against construction of new dams and projects that alter the free-flowing condition and water quality.
The other Wild & Scenic river in Florida is the Wekiwa River, in Wekiwa Springs State Park near Orlando.
Did You Know:
The Loxahatchee River is in some big time company with its designation as a Wild & Scenic River. Others include sections of: Rio Grande in Texas, Snake River in Wyoming, Chattooga River in South Carolina, Big Sur River in California and Salmon River in Alaska
SPOKE OF THE WHEEL
By kayak, by foot, by bicycle, by canoe, by horse — you can get to incredible places from Riverbend Park.
Riverbend Park connects to the Ocean to Trail system, which is inside the footprint of the Northeast Everglades Natural Area program. NENA is about 165,000 protected acres — about 260 square miles — in northern Palm Beach and southern Martin counties.
The trails connect to the Loxahatchee Slough, Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Hungryland Slough, J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area and into the DuPuis Management Area, ending with the connection of Lake Okeechobee.
JUPITER OUTDOOR CENTER offers guided tours along the Wild & Scenic Loxahatchee River. Great blue herons, deer, otters, native plants and an occasional ‘gator are likely visitors as your expert JOC tour guide paddles with you on the curling river shaded by towering cypress trees.
Sign up for a tour here.
Did You Know:
Palm Beach County operates more than 110 parks on about 8,500 acres.
FACTS ABOUT RIVERBEND PARK
* Total area of the park is 680 acres, about a square mile. About 64 acres are designated as Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park, the site of battles in 1838 during the Second Seminole War.
* Riverbend Park is middlin’ sized among Palm Beach County’s 110 parks. Okeeheelee Park is 1,700 acres. John Prince Park is about 726 acres. Carlin Park is 120 acres. DuBois Park is about 18 acres. Here’s a list of county parks.
* The farmstead at Riverbend Park is home to a sawmill, sugarcane press, and a garden. The farmstead interprets a period that runs from the latter 1800’s to the 1930’s.
* Admission is free to Riverbend Park. So is parking. The park is open 365 days a year.
Did You Know: Seminole War battle reenactments and Seminole traditional ceremonies are held regularly in Riverbend Park. For information, click here.
WILDLIFE IS EVERYWHERE
Look up in the towering cypress trees for birds like owls, wood peckers and great blue herons. Look down in the iced tea-tinted waters of the Loxahatchee River for mangrove snapper and snook. Look straight ahead onto the fallen cypress trees for deer, yellow bellied turtles and otters.
Don’t just look.
Limpkins make a high pitched screech. Alligators bellow and make loud grunts. Raccoons make a purring growl. Insects hiss.
Swamp lillies, space-age-looking flowers that sprout long white stems along the shore, are sweet smelling. The plants, which grow up to three feet tall, love the full sun and thrive in the river’s moist soil.
While having a fine fragrance and looking good is fine, it has its downside.
To sign up for a Mangrove Mystery Tour, click here.
Did You Know: Cypress trees can reach 100 feet in height, grow 24 inches in a single year, and have trunks with 20-foot diameters.