Most people don’t venture beyond the spring pool at Wekiwa Springs State Park, except to paddle the Wekiva River. Yet this park offers extensive trail systems for hiking, biking and horseback riding that showcase this diverse and important watershed.
The longest trail in the park is the White hiking trail loop, where I logged about 13 miles on my birthday this year. What a great way to spend a wonderfully cool winter day with deep blue skies and puffy white clouds. This trail truly highlights the great diversity within the park from high, dry, sandy pine woods to classic Florida swampy lowlands.
In fact, I ran into a few slightly muddy spots in the northern section where the trail runs along the border of Kelly Park/Rock Springs…and it’s been very dry for a long time. I’d wager that much of the upper reaches, particularly the section marked 19 to 19C or D on the trail map, is typically flooded during the wet season. And mosquito infested. Good reasons to do this trail while it’s cool and dry.
Right after this section, the trail passes through Camp Cozy, then Big Buck Camp, which also has a canoe/kayak landing area along Rock Springs Run. Both of these primitive camps are really nice, complete with fire rings and picnic tables. Big Buck also has a bear-proof food storage safe on site. Alligators to the left, bears to the right…perfectly wild.
A little further along (clockwise) I came to Sand Lake, really just a little pond. There’s also a parking area here, so this would be closest to both camps, should you backpack to camp. Of course, you can always paddle to Big Buck Camp, if you’d prefer. (Reservations required. Contact info below.) I soon closed the loop, which left only a short piece of trail back to the parking area at the spring.
The spring pool is a great reward after a long hike, especially on hot days. Crystal clear, constantly 72 degrees. It’s easy to see how people are lured by the spring’s magic, blinding them to the rest of the magic here — the magic of the forests, the fields, the swamps, the spring run. If you go to Wekiwa, I encourage you to check out the trails. Take a look at the video and maps below, along with the links provided. I think you’ll agree.
Wekiwa Springs State Park
Apopka, FL 32712