Osceola County Nature Trails
This is Part III (sort of…) of a list of great things to do that are free(!) or nearly there in the villa area. See Part I here, and Part II here. Part IV presents details on Polk County Walking Trails.
You may think us boring, but one of the things we love to do is simply go for walks and explore any area we find ourselves in. Central Florida provides great opportunities to do this, with many incredible and fascinating places to take a leisurely (or even more difficult) stroll, and see sights, learn things, or simply relax. Enjoy this list of Osceola County’s nearby Nature Trails. While the villas are located in Polk county, they are only a mile or so from the Osceola county border, so don’t think that these are too far away to enjoy. Put on your walking shoes and sunscreen, take a hat and a camera and enjoy!
Bull Creek Wildlife Management Area
Located on Crabgrass Rd. off East Hwy 192
Holopaw, FL, 407-436-1818
An 8.6 mile loop drive starts at the check station near the entrance. A brochure is available for self-guided tours. The Florida National Scenic Trail runs the length of the area (17.8 miles) and connects with the Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area to the southwest. Possible rough roads may require 4-wheel drive vehicles. Check with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for hunting seasons and regulations.
4755 N. Kenansville Rd. (Hwy 441), 7.6 miles south of Holopaw
St. Cloud, FL, 407-957-9794
This 4700-acre working cattle ranch and nature preserve offers approximately 10 miles of hiking trails. Admission is $5 per person for all day. Hikers must check-in at the Forever Florida Visitors Center and obtain a pass before going on the trail. The Florida National Scenic Trail also runs through this property.
Lake Lizzie Nature Preserve
From US 192 east of St. Cloud, turn north onto Old Melbourne Highway, the entrance a 1⁄4 mile on the left.
St. Cloud, FL, 407-343-7173
This 950-acre nature preserve is one of Florida’s best sites for hiking, horseback riding and nature viewing. The preserve offers marked trails through a variety of habitats leading to the shores of Lake Lizzie and Trout Lake.
Situated on the northern third of Lake Tohopekaliga Kissimmee, FL
This 132-acre island offers approximately 3.5 miles of hiking trails and wildlife viewing opportunities. The island is accessible by boat only. Richardson’s Fish Camp and Aquatic Wonder Boat tours provide transportation to the island.
Osceola County Schools Environmental Study Center
4300 Poinciana Blvd., 7 miles south of Hwy 17-92
Kissimmee, FL, 407-870-0551
Hours: 10am-5pm Sat. Noon-5pm Sun.
A 19-acre segment of the Reedy Creek Swamp offers elevated observation boardwalks, three hiking trails and indoor educational displays.
Peghorn Nature Park
Peghorn Way, entrance located at the corner of Budinger and 17th St.
St. Cloud, FL, 407-957-7243
This 58-acre park offers two separate marked hiking trails winding through a variety of ecosystems and wildlife habitats.
Prairie Lakes Wildlife Management Area
1231 Prairie Lakes Rd. (accessible from Canoe Creek Rd., South Osceola County)
Kenansville, FL, 407-436-1818
Two six-mile loop trails provide hiking and wildlife viewing opportunities. Possible rough roads may require 4-wheel drive vehicles. Check with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for hunting seasons and regulations.
Ralph V. Chisholm Park
4700 Chisholm Park Tr.
St. Cloud, FL, 407-344-2939
Facilities include picnic pavilions, water, electricity, restrooms, playground, ball fields, volleyball area, beach area, boat ramp and approximately two miles of hiking and horse trails.
Split Oak Forest Mitigation Park
Located on Clapp-Simms-Duda Rd. off Hwy 15, north of Boggy Creek Rd.
Kissimmee, FL, 407-343-7173
Offers a variety of wildlife habitats and viewing opportunities. The North Loop (3.1 miles) and the South Loop (4.2 miles) meander throughout a beautiful Florida upland. The Swamp Trail (.8 miles) features a hike through a freshwater marsh, pine flatwoods and an oak hammock. The Lake Loop (1.2 miles) provides observation of the lake fringe habitats of Lake Hart and Bonnet Pond. A map is available on site.
The Nature Conservancy’s Disney Wilderness Preserve
2700 Scrub Jay Tr., off Old Pleasant Hill Rd.
Kissimmee, FL, 407-935-0002
Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm daily, closed weekends during June, July, August and September. Admission: adults $3.00, children $2.00.
This 12,000 acre preserve offers a 3 mile loop along the shores of beautiful Lake Russell meandering through various ecosystems. A self-guided 1 mile interpretive trail with an accompanying brochure introduces visitors to the pine flatwoods ecosystem.
Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area
East Osceola County, enter off of Hwy 441, 13 miles south of Holopaw
Kenansville, FL, 407-436-1818
Three Lakes offers access to 27 miles of the Florida National Scenic Trail. A map is available on site. Possible rough roads may require 4-wheel drive vehicles. Check with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for hunting seasons and regulations.
Triple N Ranch Wildlife Management Area
Located 3.5 miles east of Holopaw on East Hwy 192
Holopaw, FL, 407-463-1818
Triple N Ranch provides access to 11.2 miles of the Florida National Scenic Trail. Possible rough roads may require 4-wheel drive vehicles. Check with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for hunting seasons and regulations.
Celebration Walking & Biking Paths
There are miles of beautiful paved and boardwalk paths throughout the beautiful city of Celebration FL, located on the Walt Disney World Property. A Trail Map was created by the Girl Scout Troop 35 of Celebration to help promote outdoor activities in their community (as if they could possibly need any more promotion than simply the beautiful surroundings) and you can see/download a printable copy here.
Archie Gordon Memorial Park Path
420 Buenaventura Blvd, south of Osceola Parkway.
Kissimmee, FL, 407-344-2939
This is a 1⁄2 mile paved pathway, around the Buena Ventura Lakes soccer field.
Bill Johnston Memorial Pathway
Located on Neptune Rd. Bteween Kissimmee and St. Cloud
Kissimmee, FL 407-892-2397
This 10-foot asphalt paved path along Neptune Rd. consists of two bridges crossing over Florida’s Turnpike and the C-33 Canal. This portion of the trail connects the existing Neptune Rd. recreational pathway to Kissimmee Park Rd., which joins to an eight-foot sidewalk leading to Hwy 192 in St. Cloud. This trail connects the St. Cloud Lakefront with the Kissimmee Lakefront.
East Osceola Loop
St. Cloud, FL 407-343-7173
This 29-mile route, which is well marked with signs, begins at St. Cloud’s Lakefront Park and travels along East Lake Toho to Narcoosee Rd. eventually connecting with Hwy 192. Adequate shoulders along the highway provide ample room for bikers and autos to share the road. From Hwy 192, the route takes riders down Hickory Tree Rd. then down Deer Run Rd. eventually returning to St. Cloud’s lakefront.
Kissimmee Lakefront Park
Kissimmee, FL 407-518-2501
A three-mile course wraps around the Lakefront Park and Civic Center area for walkers and joggers. The course has 10 markers placed at 1⁄4 mile intervals to help users check their pace. Markers are located at quarter mile intervals to help users check their pace. Stopwatches are available at the Kissimmee Civic Center, located at 201 E. Dakin St. Portions of the course make use of the Lakeshore Blvd bike path. This is an eight-foot wide path that connects to the Neptune Road bike path to the east and Penfield Street bike lanes to the west. Some parts of the course use a five-foot wide concrete sidewalk next to Lake Tohopekaliga. This trail is popular for birdwatchers as many wading birds are easily visible along the lakefront. This trail is popular for birdwatchers as many wading birds are easily visible along the lakefront, and also provides easy access to Kissimmee’s Downtown Historic District.
Pleasant Hill Road Recreational Pathway
Kissimmee, FL 407-343-7173
This eight-foot wide paved path begins at the intersection of John Young Pkwy and extends along the east side of Pleasant Hill Rd. ending at Marigold Ave. The path is accessible from both shopping plazas located at either end of the pathway and is approximately 15 miles long. Lighted for nighttime use.
Shingle Creek Trail
Kissimmee, FL 407-518-2501
A small portion of the trail along the east side of Shingle Creek and a connection to Hoagland Boulevard was completed in 1999 by the developers of the Tropical Isle multi-family housing development. These trail facilities are ten-foot wide and extend about two- thirds of a mile.
St. Cloud Lakefront Park
St. Cloud, FL 407-957-7243
St. Cloud Lakefront Park features a two-mile recreational pathway along the shore of East Lake Tohopekaliga. This path connects to a network of bike paths throughout the residential area of the city of St. Cloud and the Historic Antique District located on New York and Pennsylvania Ave. From Lakeshore Blvd, the Michigan Ave. path travels south to the intersection of Hwy 192 and continues for approximately 3 miles to the entrance of Ted Broda Memorial Park.
Osceola Parks and Recreation publishes a Facilities Guide with detailed information which you can see here.
Polk County has detailed information on 20 Walking Paths and Trails on their website which you can see here.
For more information on trails in the area, you can also visit Trail Link by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.
As you study this information and visit all of the links on this page, you’ll no doubt discover that there is just so much more to do and explore in central Florida than you can possibly do in a week or two. Plan on returning to Breezy Oak Villa soon so you can continue your adventure in the Heart of Florida!