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Best Hiking Trails in Central Florida

 

If you want to know about hiking trails in Central Florida, you’ve come to the right place. Hiking in Central Florida is comparable to the best hiking in the rest of the country. There’s more to it than a tropical atmosphere reminiscent of Miami. All skill levels of hikers will enjoy this area. If you like being outside, you should go for walks in Central Florida. Also, it’s great if you have a lot of guests from other parts of the country.

 

hiking trails in Central Florida

 

Best Hikes In Central Florida To Try

 

Here are our best hiking trails in Central Florida:

 

Trail 1: The Hillsborough River Greenway

 

This scenic pathway connects to the Suncoast Trail, a much longer system. It spans the length of Florida’s west coast from Pasco County to Sarasota. Check out our previous post for ideas on family-friendly things to do around Tampa. Use this part of the greenway to ride your bike or walk through beautiful scenery. The sun will be behind you if you go the other way. Stop by Progress Village Park for a detour. From the park, you can go to the Schwinn bicycle factory from the 1950s. It’s an exciting part of Florida’s cycling history. So hop on your bike and head on an exciting journey across this area.

 

Trail 2: West Orange Trail

 

This path, which is a part of the Florida National Scenic Trail, is worth checking out. Its route links Pensacola and Titusville. If you’re looking for the most outstanding hiking trails in the Orlando area, Wekiwa Springs State Park is a fantastic location to begin your search. Ocoee, a town 30 miles to the north, is also on its route. It also passes through two excellent state parks for families: Apopka and Lake Harney. We’ve covered the best events and attractions in Apopka and Ocoee for families. Along the route, you’ll find several shops and eateries to explore. People trace the area’s heritage back to agriculture, and visitors may see orange groves. Because of this, it should be no surprise that folks see it as among the finest hiking trails Fl has to offer.

 

Keep this cooler filled with your favorites for the end of the trail.

 

Trail 3: West Little River Trail

 

Similarly, the Florida National Scenic Trail includes this path. It starts in the Ocala National Forest outside of Orlando and ends in Jupiter. Tobacco Creek Conservation Area is at its southernmost point. The area is lovely for hikers and birdwatchers both. Further, guests may want to explore this path in a north-to-south direction. There will be more cover from the sun here as the summer wears on.
 
 
 
It’s also near Winter Park. To get there, take Clarcona Ocoee Rd and FL-426 E for one hour and twenty-one minutes. It’s where you’ll find old-world attractions like stately mansions, charming brick streets, and a thick tree canopy. Still, it has high-end shopping and eating, notable museums, and renowned universities like Rollins.

 

Trail 4: Bithlo Trail

 

This route is excellent if you want to hike near Orlando but avoid going on the Florida National Scenic Trail. A mountain bike is the ideal mode of transportation along this scenic and helpful route. It goes from Bithlo’s State Road 50 to Alafaya Trail. Also, the path is about 15 kilometers away and goes through a hilly, swampy area next to a canal. Still, the best day trip is from State Route 50 to Alafaya Trail via Lockwood Boulevard. When the route reaches its final destination, Alafaya, it turns around and returns to State Route 50.

 

hiking trails in Central Florida

 

Best Places To Hike In Orlando, Florida

 

Orlando is best known for its theme parks and other tourist attractions. But hiking is a great outdoor activity that the whole family can enjoy. Here are some of Central Florida’s best hiking trails near Orlando:

 

Trail 1: Turkey Lake Wilderness Area

 

Hikers and bikers are welcome to explore the park’s 2,000 acres via its network of trails. Also, a circular track goes out and back across five miles of beautiful scenery. It follows a lake where alligators laze about in the sun.
 
 
People who like birds visit this forest. After all, it is home to many distinct types of birds. Both northbound and southbound routes are accessible. These trails are among the finest in Orlando and its environs. The course starts near SR 434 and travels north, putting you in the shade on the return trip.

Trail 2: Alexander Springs

 

This state park has thirty miles of trails waiting for tourists to explore. Those trails closest to the springs should be explored first (such as Delancy East Loop Trail). You can then return to camp and hike nearby courses like River Trail. Animals are present, so be on the lookout. Gopher tortoises, bobcats, black bears, and foxes are all in the park. Hikers with less experience should stick to well-trodden pathways in Central Florida.
 
 
The Alexander Springs Campground is also available within the park. The area has restrooms, running water, parking, and picnic tables. After all, there are swimming springs, and the atmosphere is quite tropical. Thus, it’s ideal for a peaceful getaway.

 

Trail 3: Wekiwa Springs

 

Folks discover the best kayaking and canoeing in the state in this park. Paths go through the pine Flatwoods, past sinkholes, and along the Wekiva River for more than ten miles. This feature makes it a great place to go hiking. Please take this route if you’re looking for an alternative for winter or fall hiking trails around Orlando. Why? Because from May to October, most of the amphibian breeding in the park happens in this area. So, hiking on trails near Salt Springs and Juniper Springs during the summer is a good idea.

 

If you want to go hiking with friends or family in Orlando, staying on the marked trails is best. Still, you will get sun exposure; even though most routes are shady trails, you will still walk in the open. Remember to refuel in the toilet facilities before you leave, or bring a substantial amount of water.

 

Trail 4: Florida National Scenic Trail

 

This long trail runs from the Ocala National Forest near Orlando to Jupiter. More than 100 miles of hiking trails in or near Orlando along this path. With that, it’s best done for several days if you don’t have a few weeks to spare.

 

Trail 5:  Saint Johns River State Park

 

This park has more than 20 hiking trails just waiting for discovery! Start with Big Slough Trail. Next, work on the more challenging routes like Orange Bluff Road and Fort Gates Ferry Roads. If you’re biking, the best hiking near Orlando is the South-to-North trails that start near CR 46A. This place is also great for bird-watching, especially in winter.

 

Trail 6: Rock Springs Run State Reserve

This state park has more than 5 miles of hiking and many great bike trails. The best hiking near Orlando is on the South-to-North trails that start near CR 46A. There are several habitats in this area, so bird watching is a must here.
 
 
You can spot herons and egrets nesting or wade through the wetlands during summer. Moreover, hawks hunt over cotton fields in winter. But, for best results, you should stick to marked trails.
 

essentials for overnight backpacking

Backpacking in Florida

 

Trail 7: Shingle Creek Trail

 
Today, trail users can enjoy almost 17 miles of the intended 32 miles along this regional trail. White-tailed deer, alligators, wild turkeys, and wading birds are some of the unique species living there. Hardwood and cypress swamps, pine savannas, oak hammocks, and wet prairies are all places you might find them.
 
 
It’s one of the fascinating biking and walking trails in Central Florida. Seven miles to the south is Destination Parkway, and from its loop, you can see Lake Fran. The area starts southwest of Orlando and goes north along W. Oak Ridge Road, changing from a quiet, wooded path. As the trail nears its northern end at Eagle Nest Park, it runs next to President Barack Obama Parkway. Some facilities that visitors can use there are picnic pavilions, baseball fields, and bathrooms.
 
 

Things Before Hitting The Best Hiking Trails in Central Florida

 

If you plan on hiking in Central Florida, you need to prepare a couple of things on the way. Here are what you need to have when going on a walk-in in Central Florida.

 

Bag With Water

 

Please ensure you have plenty of water so your body will not dehydrate during the trip. We recommend that you drink at least three liters of water every day. This item is a must, even if you do not plan on engaging in an activity requiring your body to produce more sweat. This advice will save your life when you’re always on the go. After all, consuming liquids, such as water, prevents and treats dehydration. This is crucial.

 

Sun Protection

 

As much as possible, always wear a hat or a cap and sunscreen before going on a hike. Protecting your scalp and face from harmful sun ultraviolet rays is essential. If you don’t preserve it, it can lead to cancer and other skin problems, like aging fast or going blind.

 

Food

 

Bring food and snacks so your body will not become weak and tired. Eating is vital if you plan to walk or hike for a long time. First, you must know what to eat and how much food your body needs. Also, eat the right kind of food. Nutrition is the key when using the walking trails Orlando provides and other places.

 

Clothing

 
Shirts, bottoms, and hiking socks made from breathable and waterproof materials are necessary. They do a great job of drawing moisture away from the body. Lighter hues feel cooler to the touch because they reflect more light. Hence, the best strategy to protect your face and neck from the sun is to wear clothing designed for outdoor use. Please remember these ideas before you try the best walking trails in Orlando.
 

Other Things to Keep in Mind

 

Here are other essential things to remember if you plan to hike in Central Florida.

 

You Should Wear Hiking Boots Instead of Sneakers.

 

Hiking boots offer sturdy soles protecting your feet from rocks and other debris. Sturdy hiking boots also come with stiffer ankle support. Putting a pair on is good for preventing SPR along the way. Also, these boots have waterproof membranes that let air in but keep feet dry. The uppers of trail runners need to be more padded. Also, they are more absorbent than hiking shoes.

 

You Can Invest in a Topographical Map if You’d Like to Spend Hundreds of Hours on the Trail.

Topographical maps are reliable depictions of three-dimensional earth features. It would help if you bought one for your trip, depending on how far and long the trail is. Also, it scales the planet in a two-dimensional format. Topographical maps are an excellent resource for planning and navigation. Still, they contribute to the fun and safety of outdoor excursions. It can help you decide if you need to bring extra clothes. So, it’s a good thing to get
 
 
The most likely problem with a topographical map is that its information needs to be updated. Hence, traveling requires more than depending on a map. People who use maps should know that landscapes and places on a map change over time. Please bring a map with you and ask the locals for guidance sometimes.

 

You Can Stay Away From Hiking Alone.

 

Your safety is critical, so please ensure that at least one other person, a friend or family member, will go with you. Organize hiking trips when more people want to go on trails in Orlando. You can find like-minded people on social media sites like Facebook.

 

Remember to Bring Your Phone.

If anything wrong happens, you need a working phone to call for help or even inform someone of your location. Please charge the battery overnight so it will last all day.

 

Please Make Sure to Carry a First Aid Kit.

 

On trails in Orlando, your body needs all the help it can get, especially if you plan to do hard things. Pack bandages and some pain relievers just in case something goes wrong. You can also use apps to treat everyday pains like blisters and cuts from rocks on the trail.

 

Do Not Litter.

 

This practice is critical because leaving trash behind makes other hikers more likely to do the same. But if everyone disposes of their waste, this means less trash along the trail. So help wildlife populations thrive by conserving natural areas. Keeping garbage off the ground is vital because it poses risks to human health, animals, and the economy. Filth taints the air we breathe, lowers the value of our homes, and ruins the city’s scenic areas. Thus, we must use natural resources carefully. It will help us enjoy a nature trail more.

 

Please Don’t Engage in Illegal Activities.

 

It would help if you always respected the law when going on trails in Orlando. Practice this discipline because it affects you and people who want to hike on these trails for fun. It is best not to engage in illegal activities such as trespassing, hunting, or even doing drugs. These things will ruin the experience for other hikers like yourself.

 

Always Remember to Take a Picture.

 

Waterfalls, lakes, mountains, and other breathtaking nature make any journey more memorable. Having photographs taken makes it possible to save remembrances forever. People can use panoramic pictures as a source of pride and joy. Friends and family who don’t have time to go on a trek or relax can still enjoy your photos.

 

Conclusion

 
If you live in Central Florida and have read this article, you should get out there and go hiking immediately. Since there are so many paths, walking a fraction of them would be a waste. Get ready for the trial by ensuring you and everyone involved has everything you need. Before setting off on your trip, prepare this, in case.

 

On your hike, bring a camera because you never know when you might see something remarkable. Show your friends and family these photographs to get them interested in nature.

 

 
Ready for your next adventure? Discover the hidden treasures of St George Island and St Marks Florida today!
 

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hiking trails in Central Florida

FAQs

 

What are the best hiking trails in Central Florida?

 

The best hiking trails in Central Florida include the Withlacoochee State Trail, Little Big Econ State Forest, Ocala National Forest, Wekiwa Springs State Park, and Blue Spring State Park. The length of the Withlacoochee State Trail is 46 miles, and it winds through the scenic wilderness along the banks of the Withlacoochee River. Those interested in hiking can find a suitable trail in Little Big Econ State Forest, regardless of their experience level. The Ocala National Forest is home to many beautiful landscapes and features over a hundred miles of trails (including the Florida National Scenic Trail). Trails in Wekiwa Springs State Park take visitors to the river’s source, making it a soothing destination for those who enjoy spending time in nature. Blue Spring State Area has hiking trails that lead to a spring where manatees can be seen in the winter. The park also has stunning views of the St. Johns River.

 

When hiking in Central Florida, what should I bring with me?

 

Essential items for a hike in Central Florida include comfortable and appropriate clothing and footwear, plenty of water and snacks, sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, a map or GPS device, a first-aid kit, a camera, and a cell phone or other communication device.

 

How do I stay safe on a hike in Central Florida?

 

To stay safe on a hike in Central Florida, you should stay on designated trails and respect any trail closures or warnings, wear appropriate clothing and footwear for the trail and weather conditions, bring plenty of water and snacks and stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun, use a map or GPS device to help navigate, have a first-aid kit and know basic first-aid, let someone know your hiking plans and the estimated time of return, and use caution around wildlife and do not approach or feed them.

 

Are there any dog-friendly hiking trails in Central Florida?

 

Yes, there are dog-friendly hiking trails in Central Florida, such as Little Big Econ State Forest, which allows dogs on all courses. Many visitors to Florida bring their dogs along for the trip. After all, the Sunshine State is a massive tropical area where the sun shines almost constantly throughout the year. Because there is so much space, playing fetch or running around in the park’s beautiful gardens is easy. Pets are welcome, but owners must keep them on a leash no shorter than 6 feet.

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