Within the 64,000 acre expanse of Three Lakes WMA, the Sunset Ranch Trail at the Prairie Lakes Unit north of Kenansville provides an easy interpretive day hike to sample the habitats found in the preserve.
The trail leads to an observation deck on Lake Marian. The 2.2 mile loop (a loop in the middle of a linear trail) offers excellent birding opportunities, especially for sandhill cranes. There is a bird blind along a prairie.
Resources for exploring the area
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Length: 2.2 mile loop
Trailhead: 27.903900, -81.098200
Fees: $3 per person
Land manager: Florida Fish & Wildlife
Open sunrise to sunset unless camping. Leashed dogs permitted.
From the intersection of US 441 and CR 520 (Canoe Creek Rd) in Kenansville, follow CR 520 north 7.5 miles to the trailhead parking area on the left.
The broad hiking-only path traverses scrubby flatwoods, sandhills, pine flatwoods, and open prairie, crossing a boardwalk through a cypress dome en route to an observation deck along Lake Marian.
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Enjoy the counterpoint of moss-draped oak hammocks and expansive prairies at Prairie Lakes along one of the older and more beloved pieces of the Florida Trail.
Protecting a marshy peninsula on the eastern shore of Lake Tohopekaliga, this remote preserve provides a panorama of natural wetlands from its boardwalk.
Named for two ancient live oaks that have long guided anglers to their favorite fishing hole, Twin Oaks Conservation Area protects nearly 400 acres along Lake Tohopekaliga.