Lake County, FL, like most of Central Florida, is well endowed with hiking trails perfect for active adults of all skill and fitness levels. They showcase the area's natural beauty, diverse ecosystems, beautiful plant life, and amazing array of birds and other wildlife. And, of course, they provide an excellent opportunity to get some exercise and enjoy the fresh air.
There are too many hiking trails in Lake County to list them all. We've rounded up some favorites while trying to cover places all around the county and offering a variety of lengths and experiences.
Hiking Trails in Clermont, FL
Lake Louisa Hiking Trail at Lake Louisa State Park incorporates some of the area's rolling hills, so it's a little more demanding than flat alternatives, and it takes you through a variety of local habitats. It's just over 4 miles long, but linear, so you do have to walk back as far as you go.
The nature trail at Crooked River Preserve spans 1.7 miles of largely scrub habitat, but also runs in part along the Palatlakaha River and to an untouched corner of Lake Louisa. The loop trail carries you through some prime fishing and wildlife spotting territory.
Hiking Trails in Eustis, FL
Lake Alfred Trail at Hidden Waters Preserve is used by the Lake County Water Authority to manage the enormous sinkhole known as Eichelberger Sink. You descend a steep slope into the sinkhole, so it's demanding on return, but it's a great opportunity for geology fans (as well as birding enthusiasts).
The nature trail at Trout Lake Nature Center take you past hammocks of age-old oak trees at Trout Lake and through various other beautiful habitats. The mile-long loop with spur is a peaceful place to appreciate Central Florida's natural tranquility.
Hiking Trails in Ferndale, FL
The nature trails at Ferndale Preserve are at a high elevation by state standards, with the preserve being just a few miles from the highest point on Florida's peninsula. The 1.6-mile loop and half-mile nature path offer amazing views of Lake Apopka and even the distant Orlando skyline on clear days.
Hiking Trails in Fruitland Park, FL
The nature trail at Lake Griffin State Park is just one of many offerings at this 620-acre park, which is home to plenty of alligators and other wildlife, as well as Florida's second-largest live oak tree, estimated to be around 400 years old.
Hiking Trails in Howey-in-the-Hills, FL
The nature trail at Sarah Maude Mason Nature Preserve only stretches a little over half a mile, but it's a beautiful walk. Mostly on a boardwalk, the loop borders Little Lake Harris and affords some amazing birding opportunities.
Hiking Trails in Leesburg, FL
Island Hammock/Daubenmire Trail at Flat Island Preserve offers about 4 miles of natural splendor, including the access trail, 3-mile loop, and two cross-trails. The land here was converted into a preserve to protect its notable botanical diversity.
Dr. S.J. Stephany Memorial River Trail at Palatlakaha Environmental and Agricultural Reserve (PEAR) Park runs along the Palatlakaha River for 3 miles. Enjoy the untouched portion of what was formerly a University of Florida agricultural research center.
The nature trail at Twin Lakes Park is short but sweet, running about one-quarter of a mile and including a nature trail and boardwalk. Combine your walk with birding here in the fall and see how many of the 73 recorded species you can spot.
The nature trails at Haynes Creek Preserve are perfect for nature lovers. Owls, woodpeckers, and numerous other bird species call this place home, as do more than 20 species of dragonflies and butterflies, alligators, river otters, and more.
Hiking Trails in Mount Dora, FL
The nature trail at Palm Island Park is a 1-mile loop with a boardwalk that takes you to Palm Island. This 8-acre nature preserve is a renowned spot for people interested in birdwatching, and there are also lots of native plant species on display.
Hiking Trails in Paisley, FL
The nature trail at Paisley Community Park is set in this attractive 8-acre park, where you'll also find the Paisley County Library along with sports and picnicking facilities. Deer sightings are common here, and the majestic oak trees are a pleasure to behold.
Hiking Trails in Sorrento, FL
Rock Springs Run Hiking Trail at Rock Springs Run State Reserve incorporates two stacked loops spanning a little over 12 miles. The area is known for its black bear population. Be aware that hunting occurs here in season, and that poor trail markings and numerous cross roads make this an easy place to get lost.
Hiking Trails in Tavares, FL
The nature trail at Lake Idamere Park is a 2-mile-long hike in this attractive, serene 45-acre park ground on the shore of Lake Idamere. It's a prime birding location with 85 recorded species, and it's notably rich in other animal, insect, and plant life as well.
The nature trail at Lake Jem Park isn't all that long, but it's a soothing, scenic walk of about half a mile. The park, which features gorgeous live oak trees, is most popular for its boat ramp and canoe, kayak, and fishing access to the Beauclair Canal.
Hiking Trails in Umatilla, FL
The nature trail at North Lake Regional Park runs for almost 1.5 miles around the perimeter of this park and large sports and recreational complex and includes an additional 0.75-mile natural path. It's a beautiful setting with lots of activity and surrounded by citrus trees.