Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park protects a remnant of what was once the great Indian Prairie stretching to Lake Okeechobee, a mosaic of wet and dry grasslands where wildflowers flourish.
Lat-Lon: 27.584143, -81.045166
Fees: $4 per vehicle
Open: 8 AM until sunset daily
Leashed pets welcome
From Yeehaw Junction (take the exit off Florida’s Turnpike), head south on US 441. After you reach Fort Drum, keep track of mileage – it’s 5.7 miles south from the diner to the sign that points you west onto CR 724 (NW 240th St). You reach the intersection of 700-A (NW 176th Ave) at 12.2 miles, which is a connection to US 98 at Basinger. Keep going straight. The road jogs sharply to the right onto NW 197nd Ave; state park signs keep guiding you. After 18.4 miles (since US 441), you reach the park entrance.
Look into the grasses to see the colorful blooms of meadow beauty, blazing star, and wild bachelor’s button. Walk the nature trails, ride the forest roads, or take a guided swamp buggy tour, offered seasonally through this 54,000 acre preserve.
The enormity of this landscape grabs you on the 5-mile drive in from the front gate to the visitor center and campground. Reminiscent of a drive through the River of Grass in the Everglades, the landscape of layers of waving grasses recalls scenes of Nebraska or Kansas grasslands, but with the signature saw palmetto of Florida.
The open vistas lend themselves perfectly to birding, all the way west to the Kissimmee River. The preserve has more than 100 miles of multi-use trails open to hiking, bicycling, and equestrians. Most of the trails are along old ranch roads. The Florida Trail has recently been moved into the preserve, offering backpackers three days worth of linear hiking on a route paralleling the Kissimmee River. There is also an excellent short backpacking trip for newbies out to the primitive campground via the Prairie Loop Trail.
The campground is a perfect launch point for your adventures and one of the few places in Florida to study utterly uncluttered skies through your telescope. Primitive camping is available for equestrians and hikers who really want to get away from it all.
Explore the park
- Kilpatrick Hammock Trail - For a small sample of a habitats found in and around the hammocks that dot the vast Kissimmee Prairie, hike the Kilpatrick Hammock Trail at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park
- Nine more nights in Primrose - With our first Primrose trip of 2014 behind us, we are starting to see how snowbird RVers live here in Florida. And it's a bit different than those of us who prefer to have a little outdoors with our camping.
- When the levee breaks… - ...Mama, you got to move. And so it goes for the Florida Trail, as the flood-induced breach in a levee along the Kissimmee River south of KICCO means the trail must move in order for clear passage north from Kissimmee Prairie Preserve.
Trail, Distance, Type
Kilpatrick Hammock Trail, 0.5 miles, loop
Prairie Loop Trail, 4.5 miles, loop
Audubon Loop Trails, 2.1 miles, loop
Pine Island Prairie Trail, 3.7 miles, linear
Gum Slough Trail, 4.2 miles, linear
Gum Slough Prairie Trail, 1.8 miles, linear
McClure Hammock Trail, 4.4 miles, linear
McGuire Prairie Trail, 1.7 miles, linear
Grasshopper Sparrow Trail, 4.0 miles, linear
Long Hammock Trail, 4.3 miles, linear
Duck Slough Prairie Trail, 1.6 miles, linear
Military Trail, 6.3 miles, linear
Five Mile Slough Trail, 3.2 miles, linear
Five Mile Prairie Trail, 3.9 miles, linear
Raulerson Trail, 2.3 miles, linear
Cutover Trail, 2.1 miles, linear
East Military Trail, 3.3 miles, linear
Peavine Trail, 1.7 miles, linear
Kilpatrick Prairie Trail, 2.6 miles, linear