Broward County High Point Trip Report

Date: December 15, 2002
Author: Gene Daniell

Broward County has four potential high point areas, three on the ancient dune formation called Pine Island and the other quite a bit to the north.

The probable high point is the 29 foot elevation on Pine Island. For the 29 foot elevation on Pine Island, I'm sure that Mike Schwartz's approach will work, but here is a route that is completely open to the public (apparently all on publicly owned land) with public parking. One drawback is that it will cost you $1 per person if you go on a weekend or a holiday. Take I-595 west from I-95 and take exit 5; this is Pine Island Road - take it south for 2.3 miles, turn right on Orange Drive, then in another 1.2 miles take another right onto 100th Avenue (a local told me this was actually Nob Hill Road, but I didn't quite believe him). After another 0.5 mile turn right into Tree Tops Park, pay your $1 if it isn't a weekday, and keep bearing left until you reach the parking lot at the main administration building near the park's north boundary. (The park has a strong equestrian flavor. A complication, if you are using the DeLorme Atlas, is that it is shown as Snead Park - at least in my copy - and the road names aren't conveniently shown.) From the parking area, you can choose between a path signed "Hiking Trail", a service road past some dumpsters that connects with the aforesaid trail, or a paved path from behind the building. Or at least I infer that there is such a path - I tried to follow it on my way back but desisted rather than interfere with a wedding party that was having photos taken on the path. In any case, the paths I took coming and going swung a bit to the west then back to the east to the north boundary of the park. There I found a fence with a gap through which the paved trail passed, with a large sign concerning the Broward County Environmentally Sensitive Area. I followed the path uphill somewhat to a flat ridge crest where it divided in an area of beautiful trees (it is worth the trip just to see these trees). I took the left branch to a shelter - a roof on stilts, apparently designed to let people on horses wait out a shower - then walked diagonally through the shelter to pick up a beaten path which led to a small cleared area (another perhaps more used path angled off to the left from the shelter but didn't seem to have climbing in mind). The high point (where the GPS reading (26° 4' 42" N, 80° 16' 39" W) agreed with the numbers I'd obtained at home from the map on the Maptech web site) was about 10 yards into the woods from the high edge of the cleared area. The land appeared to drop off significantly on all sides - a rare experience in Florida.

As to the other two points on Pine Island, I used my GPS to try to locate the 26 foot elevation (26° 5' 31" N, 80° 16' 49" W). It is in a development with winding streets - nothing like the grid pattern that is so familiar elsewhere - and it would be nearly impossible to locate without a GPS. I came to a spot roughly 100 - 200 yards from this 26 foot elevation, with a swath through woods and a faint path that apparently lead up to it. There was a sign "No Horses/No Trespassing/Private Property/No Trespassing" with all but "No Horses" painted over with white paint. This might imply public access. I did not attempt to reach the point because I was short on time and it almost certainly is not the high point (if you trust the USGS) since the "26" appears to be a summit elevation, not a benchmark that might be below the highest point. You would probably have no trouble visiting this point on a weekday - I was there on a Sunday and there were a lot more people around than I normally wish to expose my questionably sane recreations to.

Unfortunately I had not obtained coordinates for the 25+ foot elevation (26° 4' 44" N, 80° 16' 42" W) so I was not able to try to track it down, but I would expect a similar situation: you'd have to use a GPS to get near it, and then you might or might not find a viable access - though it is not impossible that the swath I saw near the 26 foot elevation continues north along the ridge crest, roughly on the location of a rough road shown on the topo, to the 25+ foot elevation - they may have left this part of the ridge top as a natural area, too. This 25+ foot contour circle might have a better claim as a possible county high point, though a rise of 4 foot in such a small contour circle would be the Florida equivalent of the Harney Peak lesser pillar. Ironically I did find a 20 foot rise in a similar area in Brevard County, but it was an obviously man-made sand-pile, which if left to natural forces such as hurricanes and less violent forms of wind and water erosion would obviously erode down to normal terrain in a few nanoseconds of geologic time.

I would guess that - judging from the patters of terrain I saw on and around the 29 foot "peak" - the 25+ foot contour circle could rise to no more than 27 feet and is probably not even 26 feet. It seems almost certain that the 29 foot elevation is the high point of Pine Island if not Broward County, though it would be pretty hard to prove it - sighting between the summits is definitely not possible. But it would be a good thing if someone would at least try to visit and see what might be there. The statement that the county authorities believe the 29 foot elevation to be the high point is tantalizing and convenient, but I'm not sure you can have 100% faith in that sort of authority - although in this case it is quite possible that we would find that the entire ridge line is part of the Environmentally Sensitive Area and that the county might have actually surveyed the land, including the elevations, or at least had access to more detailed USGS field notes.

The northern high point is so easy to reach that one might as well do it - there is a significant rise here. I thought the high point was obviously in the brushy field next to the mobile home park. The exits on I-95 are being renumbered and NE 36th Street is now Sample Road but you still turn left on N 3rd Avenue at the first lights, then right in a mile onto NE 48th Street where the secondary, apparently unused entrance to the mobile home park is a short distance on the right. Park and explore.