Located east of Interstate 4 on the outskirts of DeLand, Longleaf Pine Preserve protects over 12,000 acres of natural landscapes.
This property was acquired through the Volusia Forever program, a county taxpayer funded conservation initiative.
The portion open to the public consists mostly of pine flatwood and basin swamp habitats, with two separate trailheads providing access.
The eastern trailhead along Pioneer Trail is for the Blue Trail, an equestrian-friendly round-trip of 12 miles.
Hikers should head for the western trailhead, which offers access to three loops. This route includes portions of all three.
Resources for exploring the area
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Length: 8.1 mile loop
Trailhead: 29.029519, -81.182487
Address: 3637 E. New York Ave, Deland, FL 32724
Restrooms: Yes, portable toilet at the campground.
Land manager: Volusia County
Open sunrise to sunset. Dogs are allowed on a leash.
Trails are open to hiking, cyclists, and equestrian use. Groups wishing to use the campground must contact the county in advance to reserve.
From Interstate 4 exit 118, DeLand, head east on SR 44 for 2.8 miles. A small sign points out the left across the westbound lanes onto Sundy Trail. This unpaved road brings you to a kiosk, pointing to the trailhead parking area down a dirt road to the right.
A kiosk at the northwest corner of the parking area displays information about the preserve, and a map of the property.
The trailhead is located at the northeast corner of the parking area, next to a fence with a red trail marker affixed.
The trail begins at an access road that may be soggy or dry depending on the time of year.
Flooding is normal for the surrounding pinewoods habitat, and the water typically only rises to calf-deep height in the middle of the corridor.
Reaching 0.2 mile, the road enters a section where a degree of flooding is common most times of the year.
A lengthy boardwalk provides passage over the water. The e wooden surface can be extremely slick. Use caution.
Red-topped posts guide the way, joined by orange posts for a short section where the two trails share the same path.
At 0.4 mile, the Red Trail turns north onto a dirt road leading deeper into the preserve.
Clusters of shrubs line the edges of the wide pathway, including staggerbush, fetterbush, and beautyberry.
St John’s wort sports butter-yellow blooms alongside the pink-hued flowers of marsh fleabane and sunshine mimosa.
Continue following red blazes along the road for 2.2 miles before turning left onto the Lake Tuscora Walking Trail.
Green directional markers lead the way along a berm created by the manmade lake, which is flanked by a cypress strand on the opposite shore.
Sounds of traffic fill the air as the trail approaches the nearby interstate, although this quickly subsides on the north edge of the lake where a boardwalk leads away from the highway.
The Green Trail ends after 0.8 mile, opening to a group campsite in a large clearing.
Directly across from the campsite, a red post marks the access point to the Red Trail as the main loop continues in a clockwise direction.
Countless slash and longleaf pines rise in every direction from a dense understory of saw palmettos and wax myrtles.
The damp, acidic soils harbor carnivorous plants, including sundew, butterworts, bladderworts, and hooded pitcher plants.
A wide, grassy, well-maintained trail traverses this expansive pine flatwood habitat for 3 miles before completing the loop at a dirt road.
Turning left at the road, retrace your steps along the Red Trail for 1.6 miles to return to the trailhead.
A virtual walk in the woods at Longleaf Pine Preserve
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Explore the cypress-lined shore of Lake Ashby on a gentle trail system consisting of a boardwalk and easy pathways beneath deep shade along the lakeshore.
Restoring a ranch back to natural habitats takes time, but brings to life the natural beauty of these soggy habitats in the Deep Creek basin near Lake Ashby
Discover a parade of habitats in the uplands of the Deep Creek basin on the 2.2 mile White Trail, the shortest loop at this massive conservation area