Hugging the eastern shore of Lake Lizzie, Lake Lizzie Conservation Area encompasses more than a thousand acres along several lakes set among a vast mosaic of prairies, pine flatwoods, and scrub forest. Hikers, cyclists, and equestrians can explore the extensive trail network.
Location: St. Cloud
Length: Up to 11 miles
Lat-Lon: 28.227280,-81.178126 (Old Melbourne Hwy) and 28.249333,-81.164369 (Midland Dr)
Type: trail network
Fees / Permits: free
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Bug factor: minimal to high
Restroom: several vault toilets installed at trailheads and along the trails
Lake Lizzie Conservation Area is open dawn to dusk, and is managed by Osceola County.
Primitive camping is permitted in designated areas but you must obtain a permit in advance. The cost is $12 per night for residents, $15 per night for non-residents. You can call 407- 742-0200 (weekdays, daytime) or reserve online.
The primary trailhead is just off US 192 on Old Melbourne Rd to the east of St. Cloud: 6495 Old Melbourne Hwy, St. Cloud, FL 34771. The lesser-used northern trailhead is reached via north on Pine Grove Rd off US 192 to Bass Hwy and Midland Dr.
As Lake Lizzie Conservation Area took shape over many years and many land acquisitions, it’s been a while since we first explored the trails here. My first visit was to assess the trails for hikers for the first edition of “50 Hikes in Central Florida” and I found it not quite up to par for the book, since the trails were entirely shared by equestrians and, as a result, the footpaths were difficult to walk on where soft sand had been chewed up by horses walking through it.
Times have changed. There is now 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 under the powerlines on a separate trail for off-road biking. This is a big preserve, so be sure to print a map and take it with you if you plan to explore beyond the confines of the well-marked Marsh Loop. We found no maps available to take with us at the trailhead.
Explore the park
- Lake Lizzie Marsh Loop - In the most accessible corner of the thousand acres that make up Lake Lizzie Conservation Area in St. Cloud, the Marsh Loop is an easy 1.7 mile hiking-only loop.