With 211 largely forested acres between the edge of residential DeLand and Lake Beresford, Lake Beresford Park provides a place to walk in the woods.
Or ride. A paved loop circles the perimeter of the eastern side of the park, as popular with cyclists as it is with power walkers.
A segment of the county’s Spring to Spring Trail terminates west of the railroad line that bisects the park.
And several miles of hiking trails offer perspectives on lush forests in the uplands and marshes along the St. Johns River basin.
Resources for exploring the area
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Length: 5.1 miles in four trails
Trailhead: 28.9909, -81.3380
Address: 2100 Fatio Rd, DeLand
Restroom: At the main parking area
Land manager: Volusia County Parks
Open sunrise to sunset. Leashed pets welcome. If you are walking the paved trails, stay to the side so cyclists can pass.
Two trails lead to Lake Beresford itself but are simply for viewing the lake or fishing. Since there are swamps along the shoreline expect mosquitoes.
At the lakeshore and marshes, be cautious of alligators and other wildlife. A warning was posted on our last visit that a bear is active in the area.
From Interstate 4 exit 116, Lake Helen / DeLand, follow Orange Camp Rd west for 3.3 miles. When it crosses US 17-92 it becomes McGregor Blvd. Continue due west for 2.1 miles. McGregor makes a 90-degree right turn and becomes Fatio Rd. Look for the park entrance on the left within a half mile. If this parking area is full, exit and follow Fatio Rd north to the secondary parking area on the left.
About the Park
Protected as a greenway since 1991, this ribbon of uplands and wetlands along the eastern shoreline of the St. Johns River is now a major recreation destination in DeLand.
The reason for that? A convergence of trails. As plans moved forward for the Spring to Spring Trail, it allowed expansion beyond the original trailhead and footpaths off Fatio Road.
Established in 2007, Lake Beresford Park draws families to its gentle walkways and paved bike trails, its picnic grounds and playgrounds. And a chance for kids to see trains.
For those who like their outdoors a bit more wild, the surrounding greenway offers miles of footpaths that loop old-growth trees and lead down to the shores of the lake.
One of the larger lakes in the St. Johns River of Lakes, Lake Beresford defines the western edge of the greenway, which is bisected by an active rail line.
A pedestrian tunnel beneath the railroad line provides easy access to the Lake Trails and the Spring to Spring Trail.
As the current northern terminus of the central section of the Spring to Spring Trail, Lake Beresford Park is one of the better places along the paved bike path from which to start a ride.
The trick is finding parking. On each of our visits, the main lot at the park was nearly full first thing in the morning.
A secondary trailhead, the original one, is just a little north of the main entrance along Fatio Rd. It provides both access to the hiking trails and the paved bike loop through the park.
The Lake Beresford Loop surprised us with its ups and downs. We clocked 2 miles around it, following it counterclockwise after a ride on the Spring to Spring Trail.
Passing through sand pine scrub, sandhills, oak scrub, and hardwood hammocks, it offers both cyclists and families an easy way to see wildflowers and wildlife in the park.
Use the loop to access the Spring to Spring Trail by following the paved path through the tunnel under the railroad.
It’s a mile round-trip to the north end of the Spring to Spring Trail, where it terminates by circling around a banana tree.
Southbound, the trail extends 6.5 miles in a continuous ribbon to DeBary, with a large portion of the ride contained within the Lake Beresford Greenway and Blue Spring State Park.
An older kiosk at the Fatio Rd trailhead shows a map with the blue and red blazed trails in the northeast portion of the park.
We followed the perimeter of this system of footpaths to make a 2.1 mile loop through the uplands between the two parking areas.
The full trail system is signposted as the Lake Beresford Trails. However, the trails on the west side of the railroad tracks are very different in nature.
They aren’t shown on the park map. Immediately across from the pedestrian tunnel, each starts from one end of a split rail fence.
We’ll refer to these as the Lake Trails. Each is physically separate from the other, but both tunnel downhill through the forest to reach the lake within a quarter to a half mile.
They then follow the shoreline. In both cases, we hit spots where the trail vanished into a cove in the lake. It was tough to tell if they went any farther.
We tallied a mile between the two round-trips, but there may be more trail to follow when the lake levels drop.
Learn more about the Spring to Spring Trail
A paved bike path to link Volusia County’s major springs, the Spring to Spring Trail provides a growing network of trail and park connectivity
See our photos from Lake Beresford Park
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Blue Spring State Park is well acclaimed for being the best place in Florida to see manatees in the wild, and we don’t mean a dozen or two. Think hundreds.
Along the St. Johns River at Lake Beresford, discover the river anew through William Bartram’s eyes as he recorded his observations of alligators, fish, and flora in 1774
An island in the St. Johns River, Hontoon Island State Park is accessible to boaters thanks to a marina big enough to accommodate a houseboat and to everyday visitors by a free ferryboat. It’s worth the short trip to see the bounteous wildlife of the St. Johns River, from wading birds to manatees to turtles lying in the sun.