Fed by a trickle of hidden springs through lush hammocks of cabbage palms, Spring Hammock Preserve in Winter Springs is one of the most delightful places to take a hike in the Orlando area. In this 1,500 acre preserve, the trails are fun to explore. You have options ranging from paved to splashy muddy adventuresome, and the park has some of the biggest cypresses you’ll ever see.
The preserve includes the Seminole County Environmental Studies Center, extensive interpretive trails, a shimmering spring, and a floodplain forest where you’ll always see birds busy looking for their meals. Bisected by the paved Cross Seminole Trail, it’s well worth a visit any time of year, whether you arrive by bicycle, car, or on foot from neighboring communities. It’s also home of the famed “Mud Walk,” cherished by generations of schoolkids.
Location: Winter Springs
Length: 2.6 miles (more possible!)
Fees / Permits: None
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Bug factor: moderate to extreme
Restroom: At the Environmental Education Center, when open
Open sunrise to sunset. The park gates close at dusk. The Environmental Studies Center is closed on weekends. Restrooms are also available across the street at the ballfields of Soldier Creek Park.
Learn more from Seminole County Natural Lands
From Interstate 4 exit 98, Lake Mary / Heathrow, drive east on Lake Mary Blvd for 1.6 miles to Longwood-Lake Mary Road. Turn right and continue 2.5 miles to where it ends at Ronald Reagan Blvd. Turn left, and make the first right onto General Hutchinson Parkway. The entrance to Big Tree Park is on your right – a stop there is a must to see The Senator and Lady Liberty. Continue down General Hutchinson Parkway through the preserve to the traffic light at US 17-92. Turn left. After 0.8 mile, make a right at the light onto SR 419. Drive 0.6 miles to the preserve entrance, on the left across from the ballfields at Osprey Trail. Enter the gates and park on the right.
It was quite a surprise to us to make a visit on 12/10/17 and discover all of the boardwalk trails and all of the trails that go into the ancient cypress forests either closed, rerouted, or abandoned. Key signage is missing and no maps were available, save a QR code posted at one of the trail entrances. The Limpkin Trail has been entirely abandoned and some areas of the preserve are marked “No Trespassing.” We hope to find out the details of what’s going on here within the month, as we are working on an update to “50 Hikes in Central Florida” and this has always been one of our favorite hikes in the region. Watch for an update here by January 2018.
We’ll be posting an updated map soon. The maps provided in our guidebooks are no longer accurate since many trails have been shut down or rerouted.