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Communications May 11, 2020

Beat the Heat at Jones Park

Jones Park is full of hidden nooks and crannies waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re looking for tree-lined trails, shady picnic areas, or swampy hideaways, this 312-acre park has it all. With summer fast approaching, we asked Jones Park staff members to give us the inside scoop on their favorite locations to stay cool. Check out their responses below.

Redbud Hill Homestead

Summer is a great time to visit the Redbud Hill Homestead. If you’ve only seen the homestead in the winter during Pioneer Day or Homestead Heritage Day, you’ll want to check it out during the warmer months. The trees have greened up, and less foot traffic means the area is popular with wildlife.

On clear mornings, you can catch glimpses of deer and birds feeding in the greenspace. These peaceful moments always remind me of how the pioneers might have felt before heading off to work in the fields or how they might have spent a quiet moment just enjoying nature.

Find this peaceful spot down the forested Homestead Trail. It’s open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 1 to 3 p.m.

Scott Holloway
Park Ranger II

 

The Turtle Pond and Aquatics Lab

There’s nothing better than feeding turtles from the dock surrounded by cypress trees and buttonbush. If you visit in the morning when it’s still cool outside, you’ll be treated to rays of sunlight streaming through the treetops, creating an almost fairytale-like light display.

Jason Naivar
Education Program Coordinator and Naturalist

 

Central Greenspace and Picnic Area

The greenspace by the Nature Center is great for cooling off after a long day outdoors. There’s a water fountain nearby, and the area is open and breezy, with large trees for shade. It’s also a great place to gather and socialize. If there’s a big event going on at Jones Park, chances are that it’s happening in the greenspace.

If you visit in late spring or early summer, come in the afternoon around 5-6 p.m. It’s already beginning to cool off, but there are still hours of daylight left to enjoy.

John Carey
Education Programmer

 

Spring Creek

You can’t beat Spring Creek in the late afternoon. The breeze off the creek is refreshing after a hot day of work. Spend the evening relaxing on a bench overlooking the creek or fishing on the sandy banks.

David Jamar
Forester

 

Spring Creek Trail

The Spring Creek Trail is a great place to visit any time of day, but it’s especially enjoyable in the afternoon if you want to escape the heat. It’s shady and wide enough to allow for a slight breeze. The trail also features finely crushed granite that reminds me of the rocky trails that I grew up hiking in southwestern Oklahoma.

It’s also less traveled than some of the other trails, so you don’t feel crowded. As a bonus, the trail branches off at the end, so you have plenty of connecting trails to explore.

Brent Wilkins
Volunteer Coordinator

 

The Cypress Boardwalk Trail

The Cypress Boardwalk Trail is one of the park’s most diverse and scenic trails. A short walk will take you over cypress ponds and through riparian forests to the open beaches of Spring Creek.

You’ll also likely encounter different types of plants and animals, depending on the time of year you visit and the amount of rain the park receives. Turtles fill the cypress ponds during the rainy season, and a variety of birds inhabit the forest year-round.

Visit the trail in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat. Bring binoculars, a camera, water, and bug spray.

Matt Abernathy
Assistant Director

For more information about Jones Park, visit https://www.hcp4.net/parks/jjp/about/.