Viera Parks & Sanctuaries - Cuickshank Sanctuary

The Cruickshank Sanctuary is a 1.1-mile loop.

Location: Rockledge

Length: 1.1 mile loop

Trailhead: 28.2941 to 80.7073

Address: 360 Barnes Blvd, Rockledge FL 32955

Cost: Free

Restroom: Two portable toilets

Land manager: Brevard County

Phone: 321-255-4466

Open daily sunrise to sunset. No pets, bicycles or feeding the wildlife.

Visitors to Cruickshank Sanctuary can hike the trail of the 140-acre sanctuary. This trail winds through pine flatwoods, patches of oak, sand pine scrub and marshes, which are a part of the sanctuary's diversity.

A popular sight on the trail is the Florida scrub-jay. Scrub-jays are medium-sized, long-tailed, blue songbirds that perch atop shrubs and pine snags or hop along the road edge in search of crickets.

Leaving the kiosk at the trailhead, the trail comes to an intersection with a beaten path. Turn left to cross a bridge above a narrow ditch dotted with water lilies.

On the other side, you walk right into the scrub of the Atlantic Coast Ridge. There are patches of sand-spike moss in empty patches of bright white sand. A swale of wetland is on the left.

Bounded by homes and commercial businesses, the sanctuary in Rockledge is one of the best places to see the Florida scrub-jay. The scrub forest is a great habitat for these birds only found in Florida.

Look for beauty in the small things, like ink blossoms, shiny blueberries. Hikers are likely to see tracks of a gopher tortoise or even spot one of the tortoises.