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Hernando Beach, Florida

Hike the Weeki Wachee Preserve

4.3 Miles Total - 85 ft gain - Loop Trail

Originally added by Ryan Noeker

The Weeki Wachee Preserve is over 11,000 acres of fresh and saltwater swamps, lakes, hardwood forests, and pine covered sand-hills, that features the largest black bear population on Florida's west coast. Enjoy hiking, biking, and fishing in this vast wildlife preserve that only locals know about, so leave no trace and enjoy one of Florida's many natural wonders.

The Weeki Wachee Preserve is comprised of over 11,000 acres that contains manmade lakes, hiking and biking trails, small hills, and an abundant amount of wildlife. The manmade lakes are due to quarried limestone pits that have been filled with natural spring water, and even though they look beautiful and refreshing: swimming is prohibited and violators will be ticketed.

This preserve is great for a day hike, a private area for a small picnic, or even a sequestered area for exercise like walking or running. The trails do have specific names but you can see the map of trails on the main kiosk once inside the preserve. The main trail is comprised of different loops that create a 5.5 mile trail that has a mixture of paved and unpaved road. There is another, more scenic trail that is 4.3 miles long, this is the trail that is pictured here. There is a small sand hill about half way through the hike with a lot of vegetation towards the top, if you can make the hike up through the sand, you are able to see the whole preserve and most of the surrounding lakes. At the peak of this hike, you will reach an elevation of about 85 ft, actually pretty high for this area because it is very close to the Gulf of Mexico.

The park opens at sunrise and closes at sunset. There are two separate entrances to the preserve, one is a little more paved and vehicle friendly whereas the other entrance is more remote and scenic, the paved is located off of Osowaw Blvd and the scenic entrance is off of Shoal Line Blvd. The pin on the map shows the Shoal entrance, at this entrance just follow the long trail about .6 miles and it will open up at one of the lakes and you are able to go right or left. Left will take you to the scenic trail and loop around several lakes and sand hills.

This area is home to many animals and it is not uncommon to see deer, birds, snakes, and fish in great abundance. In addition to those typical Florida animals, the preserve is the largest Florida Black Bear habitat on the west coast of Florida, including the Panhandle, so be aware of the bear population when walking or riding through the trails!

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Tags

Fitness
Cycling
Fishing
Photography
Mountain Biking
Running
Kayaking
Backpacking
Hiking
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Wildlife

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Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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