George LeStrange Preserve is one of my favorite trails to hike/run. For one: There is an almost EXACT 1 mile loop around the lake. This makes it easier for us to know how much walking or running we’ve done. And two: Its location is right on the way from Indian River Estates or South Beach (I’ve lived at both in the last year) to PAL where I coach Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays out by Cracker Barrel. And for three: There’s side trails all over to explore. They even go all the way out passed I-95 (links up with FP Mountain Bike Trail and Gordy Preserve) and along Ten Mile Creek. Its beautiful and shady, and half-paved. Until recently, you could even cheat off the trail on the left side and explore the trails on nearby private property where there’s a lot of sugar sand and mud, but still easy to navigate and open enough to feel safe. I even encountered some locals on four-wheelers and stuff and they were friendly and minded their own business like I was.
I never fished the lake, but it’s spectacular and extra bright on any day since the lake reflects light from all directions. Most of the half-paved path around the lake is shady. I’ve ran this loop in bare feet even though the rocks are sharpish, but it’s not that bad. Especially if you jump from pine needle pile to pine needle pile. One loop barefoot was enough for me, though.
I hate running pavement and loops. I don’t like repetitive. So the side trails are my go-to. Sometimes I jog slow while my friend, Chase walks it and we discuss professional video gamers to keep me going. Chase hikes the loop because of injuries and building back up his body to where he can run again, so it’s good for slow pace.
George LeStrange Preserve offers a lot of the side trails run along the creek. There’s a variety of extra paths to try out that mostly wind back to the main trails. You can’t really get lost around here as long as you stay on the right (north) side. Even if you just know where the sun rises and sets, you can’t get stranded from civilization, but you’ll feel like you’re way out in the wilderness. It’s usually quiet with low traffic. We encountered some nice people who had their dogs with them, most are leashed.
If you look at our pictures you’ll see the lake, the path and view from the path from different directions. You’ll also see some of my personal favorite parts of the side trails like the shadier parts where the tree canopy takes you right out of the Florida heat and into a secret portal of fairyland type universe. Be cool, don’t twist your ankle the first time, and you’ll love it enough to come back. You might even make time to have some much needed outdoor therapy every day or week.
Location: Fort Pierce
Trailhead: 27.399251, -80.375412
Address: 4911 Ralls Rd, Fort Pierce
The site is named after Mr. George E. Lestrange (1912-1962), who loved the outdoors, and was an avid fisherman. For more information click this link
This blog was contributed by Martin Gawlak (Florida Smarlketing Sales Co.)