Palm Beach County High Point Trip Report

Date: January 23, 2000
Author: Fred Lobdell

The highest point in Palm Beach County is a bit difficult to figure out. On the Jupiter quad there is a spot elevation of 53, but no contours! This in spite of the statement, "Contour Interval 5 feet". There is also a small area shown as being higher than 50 feet on the Lake Worth quad.

The Jupiter quad was originally published in 1948 and photorevised in 1983; the edition I have says that the bathymetry was added in 1986. I will check to see if I can find an earlier edition of this map and see if it has contour lines.

For the northern area (the 53-foot spot elevation) get off I-95 at Exit 57 (I think) which is Donald Ross Rd. Take this east about 4 miles to US 1. Turn left (north) on US 1 and go perhaps two miles to where two sets of power lines cross the road. This entire area has been extensively developed since the topo was last revised. It's difficult, but try to keep track of where you are on the map.

Anyway, at the power lines make a U-turn and park on the grass. There will be a bunch of sand hills covered by a scrub pine forest on the west side of the road. Somewhere in this area is the probable HP of Palm Beach Co. This sand hills area has signs saying that it has been preserved as a natural area by the citizens of Palm Beach County. They are to be commended for saving this area from development. The signs also prohibit hunting, dumping, and vehicles. Since none of that applied to me, I hopped the fence and walked in under the power lines.

The larger set of power lines runs east-west and is shown on the topo. However, it doesn't appear to go anywhere, elevation-wise, and I walked in under the other lines, heading approximately south-southeast. This line led me over several hills until I got to one that had two concrete slabs, perhaps eight feet square, a third smaller slab, and a low structure of some sort on the south side.

This seemed to be the highest hill in the immediate area, although views were limited due to the 20-foot tall pines. I was able to take a hand level reading to the next hill south along the power lines and confirmed that the hill I was on was several feet higher than the next one. (Later I was able to drive to the next hill.) I then wandered around on the hills, following various trails and staying on the high ground, until eventually emerging at a power substation. The power lines running east from this point led me back to US 1.

For the second area, get off I-95 at Exit 46 (Lantana Rd.) and go west on Lantana about a quarter mile to the first paved left turn, High Ridge Rd. Turn left (south) and go about a half mile to a height of land. Here the topo shows a 50-foot contour behind two houses. I asked at the southern of the two houses for permission to wander around in back of the house. The non-English-speaking woman who answered the door got her teenage son out of bed (it was about noon) to talk with me.

He told me that his father, who was away on a cruise, had told him that under no circumstances was he to permit anyone on the property. So I thanked him and went to the next house north. Here there were two men, one in his 20s and one perhaps 50 or so. The older man seemed to be in charge and wasn't overjoyed to see me. He demanded some ID and when I produced my NC driver's license, wanted to see some FL ID. (So all you non-Floridians are out of luck!)

After I showed him my faculty ID from USF he consented to let me onto the property. I walked back to a shed, then to another area a little beyond it. This was as high as anything I could see, including the neighbor's yard where I had been denied entry. And the ground sloped down to the east, so I was on the high ground. The older man said he had been told that it was at an elevation of 60 feet, but hills, like fish, tend to grow with the telling. I rather suspect that if one HPer a week were to visit here, access would be completely closed off in less than a month. Actually I would hope that, once the USGS gets around to producing a Jupiter topo with contour lines, we could completely disregard this second area.