Hiking trails Orlando: stunning wekiva springs!

Hiking Trails Orlando: Uncover Beautiful Orlando Nature Trails! (2024)

For avid hikers visiting Orlando, you should start planning an adventure-fueled trip that combines Orlando’s vibrant cityscape with the untamed beauty of its surroundings.

From the Seminole-Wekiva Trail and the rugged beauty of the Black Bear Wilderness Loop Trail to the untamed wonders of the Disney Wilderness Preserve, these trails offer a thrilling escape for any lover of nature.

There are also green urban oases within the city limits, such as the charming Lake Eola and the picturesque Bill Frederick Park, where you can hike, bike, and enjoy a myriad of recreational activities.

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A Plethora Of Hiking Trails In Orlando

Hiking trails Orlando: there are a plethora of stunning hiking trails just a short drive outside downtown Orlando, here at night! Embark on amazing nature hikes, or more leisurely hikes in oasis within the City limits, Orlando has something for any kind of hiker!

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or stepping onto the trail for the first time, Orlando’s hiking trails offer beautiful nature experiences that will leave you revitalized with energy.

By the way, if you are flying in, get a rental car in Orlando to make sure you have the freedom to explore the trails that are outside the urban realm. So, let’s go.

1. The Seminole-Wekiva Trail

Hiking trails Orlando: Wekiva Springs in Florida
Wekiva Springs in Florida

One of Orlando’s most popular and captivating trails is the Seminole-Wekiva Trail.

Just a short drive north of Orlando from downtown, this scenic path offers a unique blend of natural beauty and historical significance. Its rich history and cultural significance set the Seminole-Wekiva Trail apart from other trails.

As you venture along its 14-mile (22km) winding trails, you’ll be transported back in time to when Native American tribes and early settlers inhabited this area.

Towering trees give shade to the paved path as you navigate the pathways, creating a cool and airy atmosphere. There are also water stops and bathroom facilities along the path.

And if you’re lucky (and quiet), you may even catch a glimpse of the diverse range of wildlife that calls this area home – from graceful deer to colorful birds.

You can choose to explore the Seminole-Wekiva Trail by bike, and it is a good place to bring kids in strollers. It is not necessary to do all 14 miles, though, so this trail is a good option even if you want a shorter hike.

2. Black Bear Wilderness Loop Trail

You can run into the black bear in several places in Florida, including Orlando!
You can run into the black bear in several places in Florida including Orlando

One of the most exciting hiking trails in Orlando is the Black Bear Wilderness Loop Trail, situated about half an hour’s drive outside of Orlando.

Nestled in the heart of the city, this 7 mi (11km) loop trail with boardwalk bridges will take you around marshy areas. 

Just like the Seminole-Wekiva Trail, the Black Bear Wilderness Loop Trail showcases the area’s stunning natural beauty while also providing a glimpse into its captivating history.

The trail is a winding way through a diverse range of landscapes, through lush forests and scenic wetlands.

Along the way, you’ll encounter abundant wildlife, from colorful birds soaring overhead to the occasional otter or deer crossing your path. And be aware, though, there are bears in this area, and you just might run into one.

You’ll notice remnants of old bridges and structures that harken back to a time when this area was bustling with activity.

Completing the Black Bear Wilderness Loop Trail will undoubtedly leave you with a deep appreciation for Orlando’s unique blend of nature and history.

Popular tours: Half-day birding excursion

3. Disney Wilderness Preserve

Hiking in Orlando: Lake Tohopekaliga outside Orlando at sunset
Lake Tohopekaliga outside Orlando at sunset

Your next Orlando hiking adventure is at the Disney Wilderness Preserve, just south of the vast Lake Tohopekaliga, where you can continue your exploration of Orlando’s diverse landscapes.

This pristine conservation area spans over 12,000 acres and is managed by The Nature Conservancy in partnership with the Walt Disney Company.

You’ll find a stunning mosaic of wetlands, forests, and prairies, brimming with animal and plant life. Over 1000 different species of plants and animals live here.

Beyond the awe-inspiring beauty, the Disney Wilderness Preserve is also a testament to the power of conservation. The preserve was originally established to mitigate the environmental impact of the nearby Disney theme parks and has since become a sanctuary for endangered and threatened species.

Keep an eye out for elusive Florida scrub jays, graceful sandhill cranes, and even the iconic bald eagles as they soar above the preserve.

4. Big Tree Park

Nestled within the heart of Orlando, this small but unique urban park is a testament to the importance of preserving nature.

As you step onto the Big Tree Park trail, you enter a territory where towering cypress trees have stood tall for centuries.

The star of the park was undoubtedly “The Senator,” a majestic bald cypress tree that was believed to be over 3,500 years old before it perished in a devastating fire in 2012. Despite this event, the park remains popular, with the surviving ancients still impressing visitors.

The oldest cypress in the park today is the “Lady Liberty,” a cypress that is believed to be over 2000 years old.

As you meander along the winding paths of Big Tree Park, you can find a natural oasis in the middle of the city but not many fancy amenities around.

5. Wekiva Spring Hiking Trail

Flora in Wekiva Spring State Park in Orlando
Flora in Wekiva Spring State Park in Orlando

Wekiva Spring Hiking Trail is the next thrilling chapter in Orlando’s relative wilderness for when you want to escape the city’s buzz and traffic.

The trails here vary from short ones of under a mile to longer ones of up to around 13 miles.

The Wekiva Spring Hiking Trail is lined with lush greenery, towering trees, and vibrant wildflowers, creating a picturesque backdrop at every turn.

Count on the shady trails during summer hikes to shield you from the Florida sun, and there are boardwalks conveniently placed out that make sure you can safely walk among the waterways.

While the scenery alone is captivating enough, the Wekiva Spring Hiking Trail also offers an opportunity to encounter diverse wildlife. Look out for the secretive otters, gracefully gliding through the water as they make a rare appearance.

If you’re lucky, you may also catch a glimpse of the elegant herons gracefully perched near the shimmering ponds or even turtles.

Popular tours: Central Florida Adventure Park

6. Black Hammock Trail

With its own set of wonders, the Black Hammock Trail winds through dense foliage, immersing you in a lush canopy teeming with life.

Towering oak and cypress trees create a mesmerizing landscape, casting dappled shadows on the ground as you meander along the well-marked path.

The Black Hammock Trail is a smaller part of the larger Cross Seminole Trail, and this trailhead is situated a bit east of Orlando in Oviedo.

In the hot summers, the tree canopies here keep the sun away from the trails that mostly follow around the Lake Jesup shoreline.

The path is also easy to walk with 4.5 miles of boardwalk around the lakeshore area, so even in the wet season, you can comfortably walk here without being bothered by a surprise shower.

If you pay attention, you will see the fascinating changes in the ecosystems, such as wetlands, pine flatwoods, and oak hammocks.

7. Bill Frederick Park

Go camping in Bill Frederick park and do some fishing as the sun sets!
Go camping in Bill Frederick Park and do some fishing as the sun sets

Bill Frederick Park along the southwestern shores of Turkey Lake in Orlando.

With its expansive green spaces and variety of wildlife, Bill Frederick Park invites nature enthusiasts, sports lovers, or simply those seeking a peaceful retreat into its green space.

Take a leisurely stroll along the scenic paths, surrounded by towering oak trees and the soothing sounds of nature. The park is around 183 acres in total and offers activities such as fishing or boating at Turkey Lake, a playground, cabins, and tent spots for camping.

Or, if you prefer a more active adventure, engage in a game of golf on one of the park’s well-maintained courses.

As the sun is setting, you can settle down for a tranquil picnic near the serene lake shore with your loved ones.

For those seeking a closer encounter with the park’s abundant wildlife, a visit to the Turkey Roost Observation Area is a must.

8. Lake Apopka North Shore

A beautiful summer day at Lake Apopka outside Orlando, Florida
Lake Apopka outside Orlando Florida

Lake Apopka North Shore is a hidden gem with a diverse range of breathtaking landscapes and airy views, Lake Apopka North Shore is a beckon for hikers and nature enthusiasts.

The lush greenery and winding paths lead you deeper into the realm of Lake Apopka North Shore, where adventure and discovery await at every turn.

Towering cypress trees line the horizon, creating a natural canopy that provides shade and serenity. Along the way, keep an eye out for the abundant wildlife that calls Lake Apopka North Shore home.

From vibrant birds soaring overhead to turtles basking in the sun, the park is teeming with life. You can spot elusive species such as alligators and otters here, adding a thrilling element to your hike.

Sprawling lakes grace the landscape. As you wander along the trails, you may feel drawn to the water’s edge for a break and a picnic, by the shimmering reflections and tranquil atmosphere.

9. Kelly Park Loop Trail

Orlando hiking trails: Wekiva Springs waterways in Orlando, Florida
Wekiva Springs waterways in Orlando Florida

The Kelly Park Loop Trail north of Orlando with sprawling lakes is beautiful, and you may spot hawks, moths, turkeys, and deer as you follow the loop trail around Kelly Park.

The park was created as a donation from famous physician Dr. Howard Atwood Kelly back in 1927. Today is both a bird sanctuary and a wildlife preserve. So, you may encounter native birds soaring above you, creating a symphony of sounds harmonizing with the serenity of the area.

The Kelly Park Loop Trail is not long, and is just under 2.5 miles (4km), making it a great destination for strolls a short distance from the city.

You’ll even get to dip your tired toes in the refreshing river waters of Rock Springs if you want to, and there are perfect places for a picnic along the trail.

10. Warren Park

Warren Park is an easily accessible hike nestled close to the city of Orlando and its urban vibe.

There are two ways to do a hike here: a shorter one of around 4 miles (6 km) and a longer one of about 7 miles (11 kilometers) that will take you around Lake Conway just north of Orlando International Airport.

Close to Warren Park is also the small Lake Warren, which is open for fishing, picnicking, and swimming. It is also a great place for birdwatching if that is your passion.

Look for flashes of occasional colorful feathers, and listen for the chattering calls of squirrels as they scamper among the trees. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a timid deer gracefully navigating its way through the underbrush.

Warren Park offers nature and tranquility close to the city and residential areas, providing a tranquil urban retreat.

11. Lake Eola

Orlando hiking trails: Lake Eola Orlando on a sunny day!
Lake Eola Orlando on a sunny day

Arriving at Lake Eola, you are greeted by the crystalline waters, reflecting the vibrant colors of the surrounding foliage in the middle of the urban zone.

As Lake Eola Park is right in the heart of Downtown Orlando, the distance around the lake is 0.9 miles, so it is a great place to get your steps in or go for a run, knowing the exact distance you have covered.

As you venture along the picturesque lake, the trail winds its way around the water. Look for exotic birds gliding through the air, or sit by the water’s edge and watch the gentle ripples as a respite from the demands of everyday life.

Lake Eola also offers opportunities for active adventures. Kayakers and paddleboard enthusiasts traverse its waters. Should you feel inclined to join in, rentals are available, allowing you to navigate the pristine lake in natural surroundings.

12. Cady Way Trail

Lake Baldwin by the Cady Way Trail in Orlando, Florida
Lake Baldwin by the Cady Way Trail in Orlando Florida

Located just a short distance from Lake Baldwin in Orlando, this scenic trail stretches for around seven miles (11 kilometers), great for both hiking and biking along the paved path.

The Cady Way Trail is about four miles northeast of Downtown Orlando and is part of a larger regional trail. It extends northeast from the Fashion Square Mall through Orange County, connecting to the Cross Seminole Trail.

The paved trail is just twelve feet wide, with two spurs that connect Lake Baldwin and Lake Susannah.

You can choose a 2.5-mile trail loop that follows around Lake Baldwin or another shorter 1.5-mile trail that spurs around the western side of Lake Susannah. This urban trail also passes various restaurants and shopping centers like the Fashion Square Mall and Downtown Baldwin Park.

As the Cady Way Trail boasts great biking opportunities with its smooth surface, it’s a favorite among cyclists of all skill levels. You can bring your own bike or rent one nearby.

13. Lake Davis Park

A quiet place among the trees with a park bench along Lake Davis Park shores in Orlando
Lake Davis Park in Orlando

As you enter Lake Davis Park, you’ll be greeted by a serene setting that instantly transports you to tranquility. The park’s lush greenery, dotted with tall trees and colorful blooms, creates a picturesque backdrop for your outdoor adventure.

As you wander here, you’ll discover a diverse array of wildlife that calls Lake Davis Park home. Look for graceful herons gliding through the air or turtles sunbathing along the water’s edge.

The park’s tranquil lake provides the perfect habitat for these creatures. Not only does Lake Davis Park offer a haven for wildlife, but it also provides ample opportunities for recreational activities.

Fishing enthusiasts will love the park’s well-stocked lake, where bass and catfish await their next challenge. Pack your fishing gear and prepare for an afternoon surrounded by the calming sounds of nature.

Lake Davis Park also has picnic areas where you can relax, have a romantic outing with a loved one, or have a fun-filled gathering with friends and family.

14. Orlando Urban Trail

The Orlando Urban Trail is a hidden gem nestled amidst the bustling cityscape, offering a unique blend of city sights and serene greenery.

This trail takes you on a visual journey through the city’s rich history and vibrant present, from charming historic homes to modern skyscrapers.

Each step brings you closer to cultural landmarks and iconic attractions in Orlando. You’ll discover charming parks and plazas that invite you to pause and soak in the ambiance.

These pockets of green oasis serve as gathering spots for locals, to relax, exercise, or enjoy a moment of solitude amidst the city’s vibrant energy.

The Orlando Urban Trail connects you to a tapestry of local stories and vibrant communities. And why not combine your urban hike with a visit to the Mennello Museum of American Art on the edge of Lake Formosa?

Wrap-Up Hiking Trails Orlando

In the city of Orlando, an ambiance of adventures and breathtaking natural beauty awaits on the city’s hiking trails. These paths offer a perfect mix of tranquility and beauty for both seasoned hikers and beginners.

The nature around Orlando invites you to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life with a chance to connect with nature.

So, pack your gear, put on your hiking boots, and let Orlando’s trails be the backdrop to your next adventure. As you navigate the trails, please remember to tread lightly and leave only footprints, preserving the natural wonders for future generations too.

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