One of the wilder places within the Orlando metro area to enjoy a long walk in the woods is Tosohatchee WMA.
Formerly a Florida State Park until a land swap with Florida Fish & Wildlife less than a decade ago, Tosohatchee is a botanical wonderland in the bottomlands along the St. Johns River. Ancient trees – including a virgin cypress forest – plus expansive pine flatwoods filled with wildflowers and palm hammocks dense with ferns and bromeliads make this a “wow” destination for day hiking or backpacking.
This winter, we took on two of Tosohatchee’s trails to scout them for my next book. Creating a nearly 12-mile rugged loop, the White Loop encompasses a large segment of the Florida Trail as it passes through the reserve. There is a fee to hike within this part of Tosohatchee if you enter off Taylor Creek Road south of Christmas.
A separate loop – the Taylor Creek Loop – sits very close to Lone Cabbage Fish Camp on the way towards Cocoa along SR 520. There is no charge at this entrance. The 4.7-mile loop includes a primitive campsite but is an excellent day hike through old-growth palm hammocks.