Both Ron (my husband) and I love to hike. Our favorite destinations include Brevard, North Carolina and Estes Park Colorado. But these are destinations for when we go on vacation. Closer to home we have been making an effort to find gems in our own backyard.
To begin we started with a favorite haunt of mine for the past decade, Wekiwa Springs State Park. Starting at the parking area near the springs you find the beginning of a 13 mile trail system that leads through forest, past a lake, through low pine scrub and along the river for while. From there it’s back into the scrum and pine. It is great place to hike or trail run. Hike as much or as little of the trail as you like and take a picnic to enjoy next to the lake.
Two weekends ago we poured through 50 Hikes in Central Florida, by Sandra Friend, for a new destination. We headed to Eustis to hike in the Hidden Waters Preserve. This trail descends from the parking area into a huge 105 foot deep sink hole with a stream running through the bottom. It is a GREAT place to build endurance thanks to its inclines. If a workout is what you are after you may want to hike it twice using a different trail option the second time around. At only a mile, it left me wanting for more. I do plan to return and run this trail. It is so wide and clear its perfect!
The following day we headed to the Seminole Forest. We were pointed there by a park ranger who we met while checking out Rock Springs Run State Reserve. Parking is next to a large lake where we saw several people hanging poles hoping to catch some fish. I stayed away as I have learned that fish run from me! The trail system is extensive, spanning from the highway 46 entrance to Highway 44. The Florida Trail passes through the park. Along the trail there a couple of shelters built in the style of those you would find on the Appalachian Trail. Three sides and raised off of the ground. Nearby sits a fire ring. The whole setup has us planning a backpacking trip there in the near future. There are so many options I suspect we will be exploring this park for awhile.
So far, Ron and I are very pleased with the results of our quest. We will be busy exploring each of these areas whenever we have some spare time. To see some trip reports please visit my page on EveryTrail.com. This once again reinforces that Central Florida is a great place to live!