As Lake Lizzie Conservation Area took shape over many years and many land acquisitions, we’ve revisited it several times.
In 2001, it didn’t make the cut for 50 Hikes in Central Florida over other public lands in the region, since the trails were primarily forest roads shared with equestrians, which made for tough hiking.
Times have changed. While equestrian access to the trail system remains, there is a hiking-only trail at the south end of Lake Lizzie Conservation Area, the 1.7-mile Marsh Loop.
There is also a well-graded access from the same trailhead for off-road biking, and a very scenic loop touching on Lake Lizzie at the north end of the preserve.
Resources for exploring the area
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Location: St. Cloud
Length: Up to 11 miles (round-trip) in a trail network
Address: 6495 Old Melbourne Hwy, St. Cloud
Fees: Free. Camping fee $12-15 per night.
Restroom: Vault toilets at trailheads
Land manager: Osceola County
Open dawn to dusk. Leashed pets welcome. Do not remove artifacts or plants.
Primitive camping is permitted in designated areas but you must obtain a permit in advance. Call 407-742-0200 (weekdays during office hours) or reserve online. A limit of 6 in a group applies.
This is a big preserve, so print a map and take it along if you plan to explore beyond the well-marked Marsh Loop. We found no maps available to take with us at the trailhead.
The primary trailhead, W.P. Tyson, is just off US 192 on Old Melbourne Hwy to the east of St. Cloud. The lesser-used northern trailhead is reached by driving north on Pine Grove Rd off US 192 to Bass Hwy and Midland Dr.
There are three distinct trails within Lake Lizzie Conservation Area: loops starting near the north and south trailheads, with a linear trail connecting the two.
The southern loop is the 1.7 mile Marsh Loop, accessed via the orange-blazed Florida Trail from the W.P. Tyson trailhead. It is posted as hiking-only.
Although a prominent kiosk displays information about the Florida National Scenic Trail, this multiuse 3 mile segment is not at all connected to the linear statewide trail.
Intended as part of a future Florida Trail corridor along the edge of the Orlando metro, the orange-blazed trail, also signposted as the Lake Lizzie Trail, ends at the trailheads within this preserve.
The 2.6 mile North Loop, best accessed from the north trailhead, has a reservable group campsite along it.
While a portion of it is on forest roads, it is a scenic trails winding through scrub forest and flatwoods as well as right up to the edge of Lake Lizzie.
See our photos from Lake Lizzie Conservation Area
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Vast pine savannas and pitcher plant bogs await at one of the toughest loop trails in the Orlando area a 7.5-mile challenge at Triple N Ranch WMA.
Following a significant tributary to the St. Johns River, the Florida Trail through Bull Creek WMA showcases history and botanical beauty.
Ancient live oaks provide a tightly knit canopy over the 0.9-mile trail system at Lake Runnymede Conservation Area, a 43 acre urban preserve.