Here are 10 hikes in the Orlando area to try before it gets too hot

Florida’s “winter” or cold months can feel fleeting at times. Daytime temperatures drop to the 60’s and 70% during the day which offers some relief from the sweltering heat.

Orlando’s hot summer of 2021 is upon us. However, central Florida appears to have cool temperatures for at most a few more weeks. It’s the perfect opportunity to take your dog and family to the trails.


While flat Florida might not be associated with hiking, there are still plenty of opportunities to see the city’s beauty and enjoy the wildlife while the last ones.

Always go hiking with a buddy. A map, plan and map are essential. The basic principle of Leave No Trace is to only take photos, kill nothing but time and leave footprints.

1}Wekiwa Springs State Park

This peaceful state park is just half an hour from Orlando. The park’s relaxing spring waters, lush greenery, and soothing sounds will soothe you from your busy drive along I-4. There are several hiking trails to choose from, ranging in length from less than a mile to 13 miles. White-tailed deer, tortoises (turkey) and a variety of birds can be seen on Wekiwa hiking trails. Sometimes you can see a black bear or bobcat from Florida. The park welcomes pets. It also offers hiking trails and swimming, kayaking. $6 per vehicle for entry Make sure you get there on time on weekends.

Address: 1800 Wekiwa Circle in Apopka

2}Blue Spring State Park

This winter sanctuary for manatees is just 45 minutes north of Orlando. The park offers rest and a hike. A cold day is the perfect time to stroll along the park’s boardwalk and see hundreds of manatees congregating in the 72-degree spring water. It is a vital source for the animals. For more than 70,000,000 gallons a day, you can go to the boiling spring.

The Pine Island Trail, a 3.5-mile round trip (7 miles total), takes hikers to the St. Johns River. Some parts are exposed to direct sunlight. Be sure to pack sunscreen, insect repellent, and plenty of fluids. You are welcome to bring your pet with you. Admission is $6 per vehicle.

Address: 2100 W. French Ave. Orange City

3}Orlando Wetland Park

Located in the city of Orlando, this park can be used for hiking, biking, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, and photography. Although the land is 1,650 acres, it was originally created to improve wastewater treatment. It was originally created to test the waters but has since become a popular birding spot with over 220 species of birds and 63 butterflies.

The park has many trails that can be used to create loops or routes for hikers and cyclists. One loop trail for bird watching measures 2.5 miles and another 3.9. Free parking is available at the park entrance. Orlando Wetlands Park does not allow pets or motor vehicles. Horses and bicycles are accepted.

Address: 25155 Wheeler Road. Christmas

4}Black Bear Wilderness Area

Boardwalks and trails wind through 4,000 acres near the St. Johns River. This public land in the Sanford area is a great place to spot white-tailed elk, swallow-tailed kite, and Florida black bear. The St. Johns River Loop Trail is a difficult hike at 7.1 miles. Hikers can get lost on slippery or uneven terrain. Hiking is not recommended when the St. Johns River is flowing. There are no toilets in this primitive place, but dogs must be leashed.

Address: 5301 Michigan Ave. Sanford

5}Econ River Wilderness Area

The Seminole County of Seminole County administers the land, which encompasses 240 acres. This property also includes three miles of multipurpose trails suitable for horseback riding, biking and hiking. Great horned owls are often spotted along with white-tailed and big-horned deer, bobcats, as well as birds, raccoons and golden mice. The area is open to all day pets, but pets must be kept on a leash.

Address: 3795 Old Lockwood Road, Oviedo

6}Mead Botanical Garden

This Winter Park oasis spans 120 acres and includes a boardwalk, butterfly garden and amphitheater. It’s a perfect place to enjoy a long, peaceful walk with friends, family, or your dog. It’s a great spot for bird watching, plant identification, and geocaching. Shaded benches, lawns, and picnic tables are great places to rest your feet or enjoy a good meal. For the urban escape, parking is available and entry is free.

Address: 1300 S. Denning Drive Winter Park

7}Turkey Lake Nature Trail

Bill Frederick Park covers 183 hectares on the west side of Turkey Lake. It includes a campground with gazebos, cabins and hiking trails, boat rentals, boat rentals and a disc golf course. It is centrally located near Universal Orlando Resort and offers a tranquil getaway. You can spot birds and other animals in the park by walking the two-mile loop. Leashed dogs may be permitted in certain parts of the park. Entry to the park requires a small fee.

Address: 3401 S. Hiawassee Road Orlando

8th}Lake Balwin Park

The 2.5-mile paved loop trail that circles Lake Baldwin offers hikers and cyclists the opportunity to enjoy beautiful views of Lake Baldwin and urban Orlando from one convenient location. While most of the trail is in Orlando, the portion through Lake Baldwin Park offers shade and protection from the sun. This park is also home to a large lakeside dog park, water fountains, and restrooms. The trail continues on sunny and easy terrain with only minor curves and elevation changes. The trail is open to leashed dogs. There is also a large dog park at Lake Baldwin Park.

Address: 2000 S. Lakemont Ave. Winter park

9}Little Big Econ State Forest

Seminole County offers more than 10,000 acres for mountain bikers, hikers and paddlers. This area’s name comes from the junction of the smaller Econlockhatchee and larger Econlockhatchee rivers to the south. Little Big Econ has 16.3 miles (including 8 miles) of hiking trails. Other activities include paddling the Econlockhatchee River (17 miles) which flows through the forest, hunting, fishing and primitive camping. Only leashed pets are allowed on the trails.

Trail access: 951 Barr St. Oviedo or 2105 Snow Hill Road in Chuluota

10}Split oak forest

Spread over 2,000 acres, Split Oak Forest is located about 40 minutes south of Orlando. The forest is home to a 200-year-old live oak tree that has survived by splitting down the middle. There is a 6.4 mile trail that takes hikers around this nature reserve. But shorter trails are also possible and still lead you past the split oak. The trailhead does not have a restroom, but Moss Park has one. Pets are not allowed.

Trail access: 12125 Clapp Simms Duke Road in Orlando



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