Tosohatchee WMA is a place to immerse yourself in the beauty of natural Florida, with its ancient live oaks, deeply shaded palm hammocks, and tall cypresses in the river swamps.
It is also a wet place, where a little rise in water levels along the St. Johns River and its tributaries means soggy trails.
With numerous loops possible on its 60 miles of trails and a location between the coast and Orlando, it’s a favorite destination for hikers, cyclists, and equestrians.
A very scenic segment of the statewide Florida Trail traverses the preserve top to bottom. Ponds, lakes, and streams add to the beauty of this preserve.
Resources for exploring the area
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Main entrance: 28.498365, -80.998584
Fees: $4 per person
Restroom: Vault toilet at the entrance station and Youth Camp
Land manager: Florida Fish & Wildlife
Leashed dogs welcome. Mosquitoes and wading highly likely. Arrange camping in advance by calling the preserve.
All roads are unpaved. Do not drive into standing water. This area floods when the St. Johns River is high. Avoid recreation here when the river is in flood stage.
FWC permits seasonal hunting. Be aware of hunt dates and wear blaze orange clothing during hunts. Camping restrictions may apply during hunts.
From Interstate 95 in Titusville, follow SR 50 for 10 miles west into Christmas. Turn south on Taylor Creek Rd. The entrance is 2.9 miles south on the left. Pick up a map to determine the best route to your destination within the preserve.
About the Preserve
Formerly a state park, Tosohatchee WMA was traded between state agencies to swap for other public lands to enter the state park system. Why?
Deer hunting during the fall hunting season is one of the major reasons people come to Tosohatchee, and that land use wasn’t compatible with being a state park.
The other, year-round holy grail at Tosohatchee is botanizing. Florida botanist Walter Kingsley Taylor made it famous in his field guides.
This mosaic of pine flatwoods, palm hammocks, hardwood hammocks, and marshes along the St. Johns River floodplain offers a rich palette of wildflowers.
It is also home to ancient trees, from outstanding examples of Southern red cedar to expansive hammocks characterized by massive live oaks and cabbage palms.
Well-aged saw palmetto rises trailside, and dense, damp understories host a broad array of ferns and fungi.
Tosohatchee is traversed by a showy segment of the Florida National Scenic Trail, which has cross-trails enabling loop hikes and overnight backpacking trips.
The White Trail and Yellow Trail provide options for make-your-own-distance loops, as do the many parking areas available to access hiking trails.
A distinct day loop with its own entrance off SR 520, the Taylor Creek Loop showcases palm hammocks along the floodplain.
A new loop south of SR 528 and Lake Charlie provides a tromp through floodplain and pines in an area known as T-Shirt Pond.
Florida Trail, Tosohatchee
Bridging an immense expanse of pine flatwoods bisected by floodplain forests, an 11-mile segment of the statewide Florida Trail crosses Tosohatchee WMA.
Tosohatchee Yellow Loop
A scenic immersion into palm hammocks in Tosohatchee WMA, the Yellow Loop provides perspective on ancient trees near the Jim Creek floodplain.
Taylor Creek Loop
Blending a historic route of the Florida Trail with an easy return along a forest road, the 4.7 mile Taylor Creek Loop traverses palm hammocks along the St. Johns River floodplain.
Tosohatchee White Loop
A botanically-rich immersion into Tosohatchee WMA, the White Loop combines the Florida Trail and the White Trail for a hike of nearly 11 miles.
The extensive network of limerock roads throughout Tosohatchee is open to cyclists. We’ve explored a 20-mile loop hitting the high points of the preserve.
A 20.2-mile circuit on forest roads by bike provides a unique perspective on this 31,000-acre preserve along the St. Johns River floodplain in Christmas.
Fishing is open to anyone with a Florida fishing license. Several ponds and small lakes – Lake Charlie, Mud Lake, T-Shirt Pond, and Peek-A-Boo Pond beckon anglers.
At the end of Powerline Rd, folks fish along the banks of the St. Johns River. Here and in all the bodies of water in the preserve, keep close watch for alligators.
See our photos from Tosohatchee WMA
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Florida Trail, Seminole Ranch
At Seminole Ranch Conservation Area in Christmas, the Florida Trail follows a linear 4.9 mile route through a string of hydric hammocks in the St. Johns River floodplain
Orlando Wetlands Park
For a hike filled with the flutter and squawk of birds about their daily routines, Orlando Wetlands Park is one of the best birding spots in the state. This 5-mile loop showcases our favorite route
Hike up to 5 miles on levees through the marshes of the St. Johns River at Canaveral Marshes Conservation Area between Orlando and Titusville.
Savage Christmas Creek Preserve
Protecting more than a thousand acres, Savage Christmas Creek Preserve east of Orlando has more than 8 miles of trails through panoramic prairie and pine flatwoods landscapes