If you love nature, the Nature Trail at Suntan Lake is for you. Over 50 species of plants and trees are labeled. Walking the trail is not just pleasant but is educational.
Because plants and trees change during the season, even with the less severe Florida weather, one can see changes in the trail throughout the year. So a one time viewing isn’t enough.
For those folks that would like a to know what to expect below is an account of our trail provided by a member who firmly believes that each side of Suntan Lake’s Nature Trail is at its "showiest "during a different season. Keep in mind, this member is the one who marked the trail so he knows the details. Someone like me (maybe you), just enjoys nature and finds the whole trail as good year round.
Late winter: Now is when you appreciate the first part of the trail as it winds beneath the pines and down the wind-sheltered path through the Gallberry bushes. Yellow flowers of Carolina Jessamine begin to mark both ends of the trail.
Early spring:The far side of the lake awakes—first the Fetterbush across from the cabin, then the three varieties of Fern. Unfortunately, the big Dogwood tree and the small spring wildflowers we tried planting have all died in recent summer droughts.
Late spring:Where the trail hugs the far side of the lake, the yellow-brown flowers of the Staggerbush are more a curiosity than a thing of beauty. But the Ty-Ty bushes on both ends of the lake send out spectacular spikes of white flowers aimed in all directions.
Early summer:Just as the Ty-Ty show ends, the Sweet Pepperbushes on the east end take over with more white spikes of flowers.
Late summer:Now is when the west end of the lake comes into its own. The Muscadine Grapes and three varieties of Smilax briars have woven into a jungly tunnel, when suddenly the Hammock Sweet Azaleas and Crepe Myrtle burst into bloom.
Early fall:You don't have to go anywhere, because the show has moved to the open grassy area. Three flowers dominate--the pink Meadow Beauty, the yellow St. John's Wort, and the feathery-leaved yellow Bitterweed.
Late fall:The time of red leaves—two varieties of Tupelo ring the lake, and Sweet Gums stand a little farther inland along the trail. Don't miss the Christmas-like berries of Red Chokeberry, as winter again begins to take over the east end of the trail.
So nature renews itself year after year. And so should we, as natural creatures, walk in nature, renewing ourselves with the beauties of the seasons.