Home of dark skies and wide open spaces, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park protects a portion of Florida that you have to go off the beaten path to enjoy. On a visit to the park, the Prairie Loop Trail is a must.
A side trail off the main orange-blazed Florida Trail that connects with the campgrounds flanking the park office, the Prairie Loop Trail offers a more intimate look at a changeup of habitats.
Full details on this hike, including a trail map, are in our full-color guidebook Florida Trail Hikes.
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Guthook Guides GPS-driven map-based guide to the Florida National Scenic Trail with thousands of waypoints from The Florida Trail Guide. Works offline. For iPhone and Android.
Length: 5.6 mile loop
Trailhead: 27.584209, -81.045357
Address: 33104 NW 192nd Ave, Okeechobee
Fees: $4 per vehicle, $2 pedestrian
Restrooms: at the visitor center
Land manager: Florida State Parks
Open 8 to sunset daily. Leashed dogs welcome but not recommended due to the alligator population along along Military Trail. You will walk past several warning signs before the sloughs where the alligators congregate.
At the junction of SR 60 and US 441 just west of Florida’s Turnpike at Yeehaw Junction, head south on US 441 for 18 miles to NW 240th St (CR 724). A brown sign points the way to the state park.
Meet NW 176th Ave (CR 700A) after 12 miles. It connects to US 98 at Basinger. Continue another mile straight ahead. The road makes a 90-degree turn north onto NW 197 Ave. Continue straight ahead for another 7.9 miles, passing through the park gate and two trailheads. The road makes a 90-degree turn west. In 1.4 miles, it reaches the parking area at the Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park ranger station.
Following the orange blazes of the Florida Trail along Military Trail, a dirt road that stretches west to the horizon, this hike starts from the park office.
Continue past the equestrian campground and through the gate. Straight ahead, the trail leads towards a treeline of cabbage palms, the predominant tree in this prairie.
Warning signs about alligators are due to the sloughs that Military Trail passes through. Some of the alligators here are quite large.
At 2.1 miles, meet the blue-blazed Prairie Loop Trail at a trail junction. Turn left. The old ranch road is unmistakable. Just keep following it through the broad open prairie.
At the next trail junction, walk into the shade of the oak hammock. It’s here you’ll find the park’s primitive campground and its three sites, at 2.8 miles.
On the far side of the hammock, the Prairie Loop continues with a sharp left off the main trail. It works its way across open prairie to meet a palm hammock along a wetland.
By 4.6 miles, the trail climbs a small rise and follows an old streambed. It crosses the waterway and comes to another trail junction. Turn right and continue along the blue blazes.
The trail leads you into the equestrian campground to finish the loop. Meet the Military Trail and walk back along it to the park office.
See our photos from the Prairie Loop Trail
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
7.7 miles. Discover a natural cathedral of ancient oaks and palms along a thin ribbon of public land fronting the Kissimmee River floodplain
11.4 miles. Ancient riverside forests and picturesque prairie panoramas along the Kissimmee River make a hike to Micco Bluff worth the walk
2.7 miles. Burrow deep into the oak hammocks surrounding a beauty spot of the campsite near the Kissimmee River on this short but satisfying hike