One of my goals for my Spring Break was to do something productive and fun every day of the week and ideally blog about it. A few days the blogging part didn’t happen (such as being in Key West understandably or recovering from it) or I did something fun but didn’t blog about it (watching the Heat game at Burger and Beer, which I already reviewed). Only one day did I not do something meaningful that involved getting out in Miami and I’ll admit I was reading all of the Hunger Games books, which was more than worth it.
A few days my feat/blog(s) were food/restaurant related so this last day of break I was happy that I did a adventure-related blog. Driving on Miami Ave or 15th Road I’ve come to often notice a dense “foresty” park right on the edge of Brickell and always wondered what was inside. I have a number of go-to spots to enjoy the outdoors and “escape” from Miami (check out my earlier post on Best Miami Urban Outdoor Escapes), but they still are lacking a bit in their separation from the city. I definitely have missed Forest Park back in Portland and the ability to basically to take one step and go from the city to an urban forest. Simpson Hammock Park, while by no means as large or extensive as Forest Park, is a great way to step from the city to the forest almost instantly.
At the corner of Miami Ave and 15th Rd stands a little pavilion that sits in front of a lot of trees that is then ringed by a medium sized stone fence. I honestly think so many people driving by have no idea what is behind the pavilion. It’s been on my list for a very long time to explore Simpson Hammock Park and today I finally did it. Just a few days earlier in Key West at the Eco-center I read about hammock forests and that’s partially what pushed me to finally visit Simpson. We entered through the pavilion and right away we were in a forest. The height of the trees and the foliage is complete as soon as you walk in. A hammock forest is a closed canopy forest with a variety of trees and greenery. The park is what remains of a hammock forest that used to stretch from the Miami River to the Grove.
When you enter you can go one of two paths that generally form a loop. As you get deeper into the forest a number of other paths and off-shoots sprung up but we had no problem following a general loop. Automatically you notice the diversity of the trees (many of which are accompanied by information plaques or name cards nearby). Along the way there are benches to sit and breath and relax and tucked towards the back of the park are two small ponds. There also are a few picnic benches throughout, which would be a great place to bring food for a longer stay.
For being so close to a very dense population center like Brickell and being a Sunday afternoon there really weren’t that many people. There were tons of opportunities to take a seat on a bench or stand and reflect quietly. You are almost completely removed from Brickell right next door. The only thing that reminds you of your general location were occasional things like the sound of the Metrorail or seeing one of the taller buildings peeking out above the foliage in the distance. This contrast though I think is really cool though because it accentuates just what an awesome place and escape Simpson Hammock Park is right there in Brickell.
Beyond that I will let the pictures do the park justice but I definitely plan on making it a go-to spot for walks, runs, and escaping the bustle of Miami! The park is open from roughly from sunrise to sunset.
Simpson Hammock Park (55 SW 17th Road Miami, FL, as well as another entrance at Miami Ave and 15th Rd)