One of the most popular destinations for outdoor recreation in the Orlando metro area, Little-Big Econ State Forest protects more than 9,500 acres along the floodplain of the Econlockhatchee River as it flows through lush forests towards vast marshes where it meets the St. Johns River. With extensive trail systems dedicated to specific uses and several multi-use trails, it provides easy access to nature and a buffer between suburbia and rural lands in Seminole County.
Location: Little-Big Econ State Forest spans between Oviedo, Geneva, and Chuluota
Fees/Permits: $2 per person fee applies at Barr Street, Snow Hill Equestrian, and Jones East trailheads.
Hunting is permitted only in the Kilbee and Culpepper Tracts. Paddlers and hikers are advised to check hunt season dates and to follow protocol of wearing bright orange clothing if spending time in these areas during hunting season.
Activities by Map
Named in Muscogee, Econlockhatchee means “river of many mounds,” as evidenced by the middens found along the lower banks of this usually-placid river. It is a floodplain river, which means heavy rainfall in the region will cause the waters to rise quickly, making all trails – land and water – unsafe. The scouring nature of these floodplain events created significant bluffs, oxbow ponds, and dry side channels, which provided a place to perch hiking and biking trails to optimize scenic views and surprisingly rugged terrain.
Nineteen miles of the Econlockhatchee River winds through the forest, with take-out points at the eight mile mark and immediately after the river joins the St. Johns floodplain at Puzzle Lake. The hiking-only Florida Trail traverses more than 12 miles of the forest, drawing backpackers to two designated backcountry campsites. You’ll find the parking area at Jones East packed on weekends as mountain bikers enjoy 7 miles of loops through places like the Ditch of Doom. Dedicated equestrian trails form loops through the northern portion of the forest. Open to all users, the linear Flagler Trail follows the route of the first rail line to traverse this part of Florida.