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Embarking on the quest for the best hiking trails in Central Florida can sometimes feel like navigating a labyrinth of options. As hikers, we’ve all experienced the frustration of stumbling upon a trail that promised panoramic views but turned out to be a mere stroll through a nice place with limited excitement. The struggle to find the perfect hike, a straight trail that offers both tranquility and adventure, can be disheartening. Amidst the vast array of hiking options, it’s all too common to yearn for well marked trails that lead to genuine exploration rather than just another stroll in a “nice place.”


Fear not, fellow hikers, as we delve into the intricacies of the Florida Trail and other hiking gems in Central Florida, aiming to guide you to the trails that truly deliver on the promise of a perfect hike. Let’s navigate this wilderness together and unearth the trails that go beyond the ordinary, offering the adventure and satisfaction every hiking enthusiast seeks.

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 trail 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 and enjoying the journey of hiking trails, 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

Best Hikes In Central Florida To Try


From the mysterious allure of the Big Cypress Swamp to the tranquility of state forest, this curated list is your passport to the best of Florida hiking. Explore hidden gems that await beyond the beaten path, each trail leading to captivating landscapes and unique adventures.


Pack your essentials, locate the nearest parking lot, and get ready to immerse yourself in 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.

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 canopyStill, 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.

Best Places To Hike In Orlando, Florida


Downtown 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. From the enchanting Big Cypress National Preserve to the serene wildlife preserve and the lush state forest, discover the unparalleled beauty of Florida’s diverse landscapes. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a nature enthusiast, Orlando offers a unique blend of Florida hiking experiences that promise breathtaking views and encounters with the state’s rich biodiversity. 


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 Orlando Wetlands Park during summer. Moreover, hawks hunt over cotton fields in winter. But, for best results, you should stick to marked trails.

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 thereHardwood 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 To Prepare Before Hitting Hiking Trails in Central Florida


If you plan on hiking in Central Florida or in other new places, 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.



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.


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 for your hiking trail 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


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.

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.

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.

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.

Video Credits: @PSAdventures

Elevating Your Hiking Journey in Central Florida

Central Florida stands as a haven for hiking enthusiasts, offering an array of trails that cater to every adventurer’s preference. Whether you’re seeking the tranquility of a loop trail, the thrill of discovering new places, or the chance to witness the region’s diverse wildlife preserve in nature, the hiking options here are as varied as the ecosystems they traverse.
Central Florida’s commitment to providing an inclusive outdoor experience is evident, with trails accommodating activities such as horseback riding, ensuring that the allure of these paths extends to all nature enthusiasts. As you lace up your boots and set out on your next expedition, remember that the hiking trail in Central Florida are not just trails; they’re gateways to immersive experiences, promising a harmonious blend of nature’s wonders and the thrill of exploration.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Some of the Best Hiking Trails in Central Florida?

Central Florida offers a variety of hiking trails, but some of the best include the Lake Lotus Nature Park Trail, Split Oak Forest Mitigation Park, and the Florida Trail at Seminole State Forest. Each trail provides unique landscapes and natural beauty for hikers to explore.

Are There Any Beginner-Friendly Hiking Trails in Central Florida?

Yes, Central Florida has several beginner-friendly hiking trails suitable for all skill levels. The Little Big Econ State Forest – Kolokee Loop and the Lake Louisa State Park offer relatively flat terrain and well-marked paths, making them perfect for those new to hiking.

Are There Family-Friendly Hiking Trails in Central Florida?

Absolutely! Families can enjoy hiking together at places like Wekiwa Springs State Park or the Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve. These trails often feature shorter distances, interpretive signs, and opportunities for kids to engage with nature, making it an enjoyable experience for the whole family.

Are There Any Unique Features or Landmarks Along Central Florida’s Hiking Trails?

Central Florida’s hiking trails boast unique features such as the ancient cypress trees along the Econ River at Little Big Econ State Forest or the scenic views of Lake Louisa from the trails at Lake Louisa State Park. Exploring these trails allows hikers to encounter diverse flora and fauna, providing a memorable experience.

How Is the Weather on Central Florida’s Hiking Trails, and When Is the Best Time to Hike?

Central Florida typically experiences a subtropical climate, so it’s advisable to check the weather forecast before heading out. The best time to hike is during the cooler months, from late fall to early spring, to avoid the heat and humidity. Additionally, mornings and evenings tend to offer more pleasant temperatures for an enjoyable hiking experience.

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.

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