See what Florida used to look like on a 12-mile dayhike in the Tosohatchee Wildlife Area on one of Orlando’s best local hikes. Photo by Sandra Friend
Red and Yellow Blaze Loop, Econlockhatchee Sandhills Conservation Area
Disney wishes it had something like this flower-dappled vale. The 3.2-mile lollipop-loop tours the 706-acre conservation area, busting with blazing star and yellow aster in early to late fall. Large oak hammocks, saw palmetto, pine flat woods, and grand cypresses abound. Check with rangers about seasonal flooding before you go.
White Loop, Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area
Florida can feel relentlessly new in a lot of places. Come here to see what the state used to look like. This 12-mile lollipop loop off the Florida Trail takes you under ancient live oaks into the state’s oldest slash pine forests, where the high canopy encloses a sparsely vegetated ground. Follow the FT’s orange blazes south into a forest fringed with wild iris to the White Loop. Travel north to the Yellow Loop and follow it back to the junction with the FT and then your car.
Florida Trail, Bull Creek Wildlife Management Area
Narrow trail bridges, pine savannas, and open plains dominate this 13.8-mile loop on the Florida Trail. Start at the Levee 73 gate off FL 192 East and hike south to cross Crabgrass Creek on a footbridge. Scan the shoreline for carnivorous pitcher plants. Keep heading south, following the abandoned Union Cypress Railroad along Bull Creek to Little Spruce campground (mile 7.4). Next day, follow white blazes west then north for 6.4 miles before rejoining the Florida Trail at Cemetery Road.
Trailhead 28.116389, -80.932889Drive time 55 mins. Infofloridahikes.com