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Three Beautiful Nature Trails To Visit In The Central Florida Area

1. Black Bear Wilderness Area - Sanford, FL

Adjacent to the St. John’s River, this is the trail I’ve walked the most here in the Central Florida area. The 1600 acre area provides a 7.1 mile loop trail that provides a relaxing stroll through a diverse range of wetland habitats including cypress swamps and hydric hammocks. Visitors will have a high probability of seeing wildlife from White Tailed Deer, River Otter, Razorback Hogs, and Alligators (Disclaimer: it is best practice to keep your distance from wildlife especially hogs and alligators).

Based on personal experience, I’ve found that one can complete the loop at moderated pace in just over three hours. Also, I would recommend trying to get to the trail parking lot at before 10:00 AM as the parking lot does tend to get packed in the morning. If you do decide to go enjoy this beautiful walk of nature, be sure to pack plenty of water and a snack should you get hungry. For more information, see the Seminole County website link below:


2. Little Big Econ State Forest – Geneva, FL

Established by the Florida Legislature in 1994, this wildlife preserve stretches over 10,336 acres and was named “from the Little Econlockhatchee River and the larger Econlockhatchee River, which come together just south of the forest”. Also from the FDACS website “the Muskogee word Econlockhatchee translates literally to “earth mound stream” and means the “river of many mounds”. Long ago, Native Americans named the river for the multitude of man-made earthen mounds along the waterway.”

There is wide variety of trails within this wonderous maze of brush and forestry such as the White Loop Trail and Kolokee Trail Loop. Should you wish to wander, be sure to stick to the color-coded trail signs that are marked along the trees of each trail. There is usually plenty of parking throughout the day but like Blackbear, I would suggest getting there early in the morning to secure a parking spot. The official page of Little Big Econ State forest provides a trail map and parking options and is listed below for further information:


3. Split Oak Forest Wildlife and Environmental Area - Orlando, FL

Located 25 minutes southeast of the Orlando city center and tucked away behind the community of Lake Nona, this gorgeous nature preserve is host to a vastly diverse community of species but one in particular the gopher tortoise. The gopher tortoise is native to the southeastern United States and is keystone species in this habitat because the burrows it digs provide shelter for at least 360 other animal species. Sometimes you will see these little critters wandering along the path scrounging for grasses, leaves, and wild berries/fruits.

The area gets its name from a 200-year-old live oak tree that was split down the middle but miraculously survived. The forest was “acquired in 1994 with funds received through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Mitigation Park Program.” At one time, there were parts of the forest that were used for turpentine and cattle operations. However, the present day operations happening in the area are to restore and maintain habitats that are “critical to the long-term benefit of state and federally listed upland species”. For more information in planning your visit, please see the following link from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission website:

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