Whenever anyone thinks of hiking near the Wekiva River they immediately think of Wekiwa Springs State Park, but if you are willing to drive just a little further north, you will find a state park with miles of hiking trails and much less people. The Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park is located in Sanford, Florida adjacent to the Seminole State Forest and it's well worth the extra drive.
What Makes It Great
The best part about the Lower Wekiva River Preserve is the unspoiled landscape. While some state parks have built amenities to cater to guests, Lower Wekiva River Preserve is very bare bones. Which is a good thing. Once out on the trail, expect to have a nice, quiet hike with very few interruptions. Also, your chance of seeing wildlife is more likely than other, more established places.
The Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park is separated into two sections with two different entrances. The lower section includes 5 trails ranging in lengths from the .6 mile, Orange blazed trail to the 4.5 mile, Red blazed loop around Katie’s Landing. The trails in this section are hiking only and they're great if you are trying to avoid wider, multi-use trails.
The second section is located in the northern area of the preserve and is called the “Fectal Tract.” This section includes more miles of trails than the lower section. The trails in the Fectal Tract range from the 3.6 mile, Logging Loop to the 8.7 mile, Prairie Loop. Keep in mind that the trails in this section are multi-use. Be prepared to come across people biking as well as horses.
Who is Going to Love It
Anyone who enjoys hiking will have a great time in Lower Wekiva River Preserve. The trails are fairly easy with only a few patches of thick sand to worry about.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
When looking at a map, it can be a little difficult to figure out which area is the Seminole State Forest and which is the Lower Wekiva River Preserve. If you are planning on hiking in the lower section, you will need to use the entrance located off of State Road 46 just east of the Wekiva River. Once you arrive you will see a small parking area with room for about 4 cars. From the parking area you will have the option of going left on the Orange Trail or straight on the Blue Trail.
If you are interested in the Fectal Tract, with its longer trails you will need to head over to the northern entrance. This entrance can be found at the intersection of Fectal Road and Swift Road. When you arrive at the park entrance, go through the gate and turn right. From there you will see a parking area on the right side of the road with restrooms. Once parked, you will be able to start on any of the trails with the exception of the blue-blazed trail. The blue-blazed trail can be accessed by following the Red or Green trails south.
One of the great things about the Lower Wekiva River Preserve is the lack of entrance fees. Even though this is technically a state park, you will not need to worry about paying when you arrive.