As longleaf pine reaches for the sky, the rolling hills of Lake Louisa State Park near Clermont return to their forested roots. This undulating landscape – part of the Lake Wales Ridge – was once managed as a ranch, with citrus trees and cattle replacing natural habitats.
Fees: $4-5 per vehicle
Open: 8 AM until sunset daily
Leashed pets welcome
Once a ranch on the Lake Wales Ridge, Lake Louisa State Park is a study in regeneration, much like Aldo Leopold’s farm so carefully tended back to nature. While other orange groves around Clermont now sprout dense housing developments and strip malls, this park beckons visitors who need to reconnect with the outdoors.
The namesake lake is part of the Palatkahaha River, and it’s only one of six lakes inside this expansive park. Twenty miles of hiking across the rolling hills, with two backcountry campsites, plus another 16 miles of horse trails with an equestrian primitive campsite link together four of the lakes hidden in the hills. The park’s cabins all have a lake view.
Explore the park
- Lake Louisa Hiking Trail- Extending between the park entrance and the recreation area along Lake Louisa, the Lake Louisa Hiking Trail showcases the habitats found along and above the lake.