Sunset and Hammock Trails: Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park Professional Guide
Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook
"This park offers a chance to walk through more than 125,000 years of Keys history, going back to the time when the Key Largo limestone was formed as part of a massive coral reef when the sea was estimated to be 20 to 30 feet higher than today. Later, the sea level fell by an estimated 300 feet, and only between 5,000 and 6,000 years ago did the separate islets of the Keys appear as we know them today.
Windley Key was once two islands known as the Umbrella Keys. They became one when they were sold to Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway for $852.80. Crews filled the shallow space between the two islands with chunks of fossilized reef removed from a quarry on Windley Key that provided many thousands of tons of fill for the rail bed and bridge approaches. The land continued to be used as a quarry until the 1960s. On your walk, you’ll see decades of amazingly clean cuts by quarry machinery that have exposed flawlessly preserved fossils of the old reef and its inhabitants."