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Hikes around Walt Disney World
Millions of visitors come to Florida each year to visit Walt Disney World. You’ll walk many miles around each of the theme parks and between the resorts.
If you’re staying on property at the Mouse’s house, take a boat ride over from the Contemporary Resort to Fort Wilderness Resort to wander their miles of paved trails through the campground.
For those who contact us looking for immersion in Florida’s wild places outside the park gates, here are our picks for the best day hikes within an easy drive of Walt Disney World.
We chose these hikes based on the quality of the hike and ease of access via a major highway. Read through the descriptions to choose the best fit.
Some are better for families, some better for couples or solo hikers looking for a truly wild experience.
Reedy Creek Basin
Immediately outside Walt Disney World boundaries, you can hear the train whistle from the Magic Kingdom at Tibet-Butler Preserve, an excellent destination for families near Lake Buena Vista.
On weekends you can walk the boardwalk and trails at the Osceola Environmental Center in Poinciana to see the cypress-lined banks of Reedy Creek.
A few miles beyond is the Disney Wilderness Preserve, so named since The Nature Conservancy was able to preserve this palmetto prairie and its cypress domes with funds provided by Disney.
A wildlife haven within earshot of Walt Disney World, Tibet-Butler Preserve provides 3.6 miles of well-kept and gentle hiking trails for family fun
At the Osceola District Schools Environmental Study Center, trails along Reedy Creek Swamp showcase the beauty of the ancient cypress and floodplain forest.
Considered the headwaters of the Everglades, Shingle Creek rises in cypress swamps not far from International Drive in Orlando.
Following US 192 east towards Kissimmee, look for a half-mile hike at the Osceola County Historical Society on Bass Rd at Shingle Creek Steffee Homestead across the street.
Nearby Shingle Creek Babb Landing has a pioneer village and a great playground for the kids, paved trails, and a launch point for paddlers.
Take an easy walk to Shingle Creek at Historic Babb Landing along a family-friendly trail with great opportunities for birding and outdoor play.
North along US 441, Gatorland is an attraction that has been around more than 50 years, and the Godwin family’s roots are even deeper along the Kissimmee River.
Gatorland gets you up close to native Florida wildlife and has an excellent boardwalk trail for families to explore a cypress strand.
Little Peghorn Nature Park is the heart of St. Cloud but is not open Sundays. Lake Runnymeade Conservation Area has short trails perfect for families with children.
To the northwest, Clermont offers easy day hikes. Explore the lower, easier portion of the trail system at Lake Louisa State Park between the lake parking area and the stream through the park.
The park itself has a campground, cabins, and luxury camping where everything is set up in advance just for you to enjoy the outdoors.
Nearby Crooked River Preserve lets you walk through scrub to the lake’s weird cypresses and paddler access with rental canoes.
On the opposite side of the river is Palatlakaha River Park with its short loop trail. It has a boat ramp and paddler access.
On a 1.7-mile loop, Crooked River Preserve showcases a wide variety of habitats in a short hike on the northernmost extent of the Lake Wales Ridge in Clermont
For much longer and more rugged day hikes within an easy drive of Walt Disney World, we suggest Lake Lizzie Preserve, Bull Creek WMA, Prairie Lakes WMA, and Triple N Ranch.
All lie east of St. Cloud and all contain segments of the statewide Florida Trail with backpacking campsites. Conditions can be rough, particularly at Triple N.
Hugging the eastern shore of Lake Lizzie, Lake Lizzie Conservation Area encompasses more than a thousand acres along several lakes set among a vast mosaic of prairies, pine flatwoods, and scrub forest
Following a significant tributary to the St. Johns River, the Florida Trail through Bull Creek WMA showcases history and botanical beauty.
Vast pine savannas and pitcher plant bogs await at one of the toughest loop trails in the Orlando area a 7.5-mile challenge at Triple N Ranch WMA.
More Suggested Trails
As shown with trailhead icons on the map at the top of the page, some are specifically for biking or paddling and others for hiking.
On a day trip to Kissimmee, we were sidetracked by history at the 23th annual Osceola County Historical Society Pioneer Day, held, to our surprise, at Historic Babb Landing.