This post is contributed by Justin Fricke of The Weekend Warrior
Hiking season is a little backwards in Florida. Or maybe it’s the right way, and the rest of the country has got it backwards. Whatever the case may be, it’s prime time for hiking in Florida as hiking season usually starts in the fall and lasts through the beginning of spring.
As the temperatures start to ease up a bit, the hiking trails will soon see more use. So which trails are great for hiking in Florida? Here are five favorite fall Florida hikes.
Lake Lotus Park
Lake Lotus Park is in Altamonte Springs just outside of Orlando. The urban park lends its way to an easy 1.7-mile hiking trail. The trail runs along Lake Lotus and the Little Wekiva River, which gives plenty of opportunities to see wildlife. The trail is very easy, and part of its boardwalk extends out over the water. Bring a fishing pole and cast your line out at one of the designated fishing areas, or just hangout and enjoy the view.
Econ River Wilderness
You would never guess that there are 240 acres of wilderness tucked away behind all the subdivisions, malls, and strip shopping centers. The wet season’s coming to an end, and the 3.2-miles worth of trails are starting to dry out. These trails are well maintained and offer hikers a great way to experience nature. There are even some picturesque spots to sit by the water and listen to it flow.
Florida Trail, Wheeler Road to Joshua Creek
For hikers that want a longer day hike, the Florida Trail has loads of sections that are longer than 5-miles. One of those is the section from Wheeler Road to Joshua Creek that stretches for 9.4-miles. The trail runs underneath a myriad of oak trees where their branches weave together to provide plenty of shade from the sun. The trail also takes you through a natural botanical garden of wild orchids.
Sabal Point Sanctuary
Throughout Florida you’ll find that old logging trails make for some great modern day hiking trails. They’re wide, well maintained, and perfect for group hikes. The 7-mile Sabal Point Sanctuary is perfect for hiking in the fall. The hickory trees and red maples start shedding their gold and crimson leaves, bringing some fall foliage to Florida. Hike as far as you want on this trail and turn back around whenever you’re ready.
Lake Harney Wilderness Area
A hike with one of the most diverse landscapes is in Lake Harney Wilderness Area. Along the two loops that make up the 2.4-mile trail, you’re bound to find deer grazing in the uplands or spot eagle nests in the pine trees. Wildflowers in the woodlands create a beautiful panoramic around the pristine lake formed by the St. Johns River.