I recently had the pleasure of hiking the Gobbler Ridge Trail and Buster Island Loop Trail at Lake Kissimmee State Park. My first impression, even from the drive in, was that this would be a hike with some beautiful scenery. The more I hiked, the more I thought, “Wow…this is really pretty.”
The Gobbler Ridge Trail takes you first to a 3-story observation tower that overlooks a vast savannah stretching out to Lake Kissimmee. From there it meanders out for a short stretch along the lake before looping back to the main trail. You’ll pass through grasslands and stands of huge live oaks dressed in Spanish moss. There is no beachfront, as the shore has been left in its natural state.
On the other side of the little marina that sits on the Zipprer Canal, which connects Lake Rosalie to Lake Kissimmee, is the longer (6.7 miles) Buster Island Loop Trail. A great combination of pastures, pines, hardwoods and mixed forests fills this hike with ever-varying habitats…and plenty of eye candy.
While it was definitely worth the drive to experience these scenic trails, there’s much more to this park. For instance, it’s bordered on 3 sides by 3 different lakes: Lake Kissimmee to the east, Lake Rosalie to the west, and Tiger Lake to the south. All 3 lakes are connected and are very popular for fishing and paddling. The 10-mile Buster Island Paddling Trail is the paddlers’ equivalent of the hike I took. Kayak, canoe and paddleboat rentals are available.
Lake Kissimmee SP offers both full service and primitive camping. Of course there is a playground and picnic facilities. There are also about 6 miles of equestrian trails on Buster Island and equestrian campsites are available.
I highly recommend this destination for your outdoor recreational enjoyment. I had a really great day here. Check out the Photo Gallery to see the full story. If you’re looking for other places to experience the wonders of Florida, check out our Bucket List and Where-to-Go. Now go. Get out there…
Gobbler Ridge Trail:
Buster Island Loop Trail:
Lake Wales , FL 33898