6 Hiking Trails to Discover Orlando's Nature and Wildlife

Best Hiking Trails in Orlando

Although Orlando is most well-known for theme parks and entertainment complexes, it also boasts gorgeous wilderness and excellent hiking trails. Not sure where to start? No problem! This article covers all the best hiking trails in Orlando and what makes them so special.

When you hike in Orlando, you will not find much elevation gain or dramatic mountain peaks. What you will find is lush forests, peaceful water views and cool, shady trails alive with flora and fauna.

If you are dreaming of immersing yourself in the natural world and unplugging for a while, it is a great place to explore.

When to Go Hiking in Orlando

The shoulder season is your best bet, as you will avoid the heat, humidity and mosquitos of the summer. Plan your trip for the spring or autumn, and always bring plenty of water and sunscreen.

Where to Go Hiking in Orlando

Where should you head for an outdoor day trip in the Orlando area? Here are some of the best hiking trails in Orlando:

1. Kolokee Loop

How Long is the Trail?
5.2 miles.

Where Does the Trail Start?
1350 Snow Hill Road, Geneva, Florida.

What Makes This Trail Special?
The Kolokee Loop is located within the 10,279-acre Little Big Econ State Forest near Geneva. This nature trail is one of the most scenic in Central Florida, and it is a must-see for any outdoor adventurer.

The trail winds along the Econlockhatchee River, and also includes a portion of the Florida National Scenic Trail, which stretches from the Big Cypress National Preserve to the Gulf Islands National Seashore.

Keep an eye out on your hike for wildlife, including bald eagles, sandhill cranes, alligators, deer and more. Or, if you prefer a shorter route, you can try the 1.8-mile loop around the Geneva Wilderness Area just up the street.

2. Orlando Wetlands Park

How Long is the Trail?
Over 18 miles total throughout the park.

Where Does the Trail Start?
25155 Wheeler Road, Christmas, Florida.

What Makes This Trail Special?
The 1,650-acre Orlando Wetlands Park was created to treat reclaimed water and serve as a wildlife habitat. It provides a habitat for more than 220 bird species, including red-shouldered hawks and bald eagles.

Climb to the top of Oyler Overlook, which provides stunning views over the surrounding wetlands. Plus, you can also relax on the shores of Lake Searcy.

This park is very popular among birders due to the large variety of species, so you will want to get there early before the parking lot fills up!

3. The Seminole-Wekiva Trail

How Long is the Trail?
13.6 miles total (but you can always do a shorter route).

Where Does the Trail Start?
Altamonte Springs.

What Makes This Trail Special?
This popular trail is known for being one of the best spots for hiking near Orlando. It has a little bit of everything, from wildlife viewing to tropical plans and a great mix of sun and shade.

The trail is a great option for beginner hikers, as it is well-marked and has stops for water and bathrooms along the way. Plus, if you plan your hike so that you end at Lake Mary trailhead, there is a commercial complex there where you can get some food.

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4. Bear Creek Nature Trail

How Long is the Trail?
0.9 miles.

Where Does the Trail Start?
1555 Winter Springs Blvd, Winter Springs, Florida.

What Makes This Trail Special?
Although it is only in the suburbs, this trail will make you feel like you have been transported to the countryside. It’s a lovely patch of forest in a sea of suburbia. The Bear Creek Nature Trail is a very easy and short trail, so it will not be a challenge for any experienced hikers.

It is a great place to bring a picnic, as there are two small bridges and three picnic tables shaded by lush trees. Sit and relax in the peace and quiet of the forest surrounded by ancient palms, oaks and cypress trees.

The loop is not well-marked, but the wilderness area is not that big so you will not get lost. The trail stays on the bluffs along the creek and on the return route, and there is a side trail through the uplands to a boardwalk that connects with Winter Springs Boulevard.

5. Lake Jesup East Tract

How Long is the Trail?
2.1 miles.

Where Does the Trail Start?
Lake Jesup Park.

What Makes This Trail Special?
The Lake Jesup East Tract will lead you along the lake’s south edge. You’ll walk through former vegetable fields and ranch land that have been returned to nature. There’s a mostly flat dirt trail that will take you through shady wooded areas and along the scenic waterfront.

If you are looking for the best place to catch sunset views, the observation platform at Lake Jesup is a beautiful spot. Time your hike so that you can watch the changing colors of the sky and soak up the peace and beauty of this tranquil lakeside spot.

6. Black Hammock Trail

How Long is the Trail?
4.5 miles.

Where Does the Trail Start?
Black Hammock Road.

What Makes This Trail Special?
Take a half hour drive from downtown Orlando and you will find this gorgeous trail. It feels a bit more secluded than some of the other options, making it a perfect place for a quiet escape.

Most of the trail is shaded by the trees, which helps to protect you from the warm Florida sunshine. It follows the shores of Lake Jesup, taking you past pine flatwoods and swamps.

This lush, protected wetland is filled with wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled. You might see an elegant Great Egret swooping by, a Grey Fox darting through the bushes or an alligator dozing in the sunshine.

Get Out There and Explore Florida’s Natural Beauty!

These are just a few of the best hiking trails in Orlando! Although Orlando is a busy city, it does not take long to get out into the trails and be fully immersed in the peace and quiet of the wilderness. So, why not hit the trails and explore?

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