Se7en Wetlands Park, a new park in Lakeland, features 8.5-miles of trails with two main access points – Loyce E. Harpe Park and Lakeland Highlands Scrub.
Se7en Wetlands Park is part of a 1,600-acre area in Mulberry (just south of Lakeland) comprised of marshes, swamps, and lakes. The Gopher Tortoise trail head, accessed from Loyce E. Harpe Park, offers runners and walkers a 2.9-mile trail loop and The Wood Stork trail head, accessed from Lakeland Highlands Scrub, features a 2.4-mile loop. If you park at Lakeland Highlands Scrub, follow the Se7en Wetlands Connector Trail (1.5 miles). Both trail heads have restrooms and water fountains.
Visitors can expect to see a variety of birds including a host of migratory species as well as alligators, otters, turtles, deer, snakes and wild hogs.
“8.5-miles of trails on 1,600-acres” may confuse experienced hikers and long distance runners. Shouldn’t there be more trails? Yes! The Park will have more than 22-miles of trails when it is complete. We must be patient.
History of this Property
As mentioned above, the City of Lakeland owns the 1,600-acre area and for the past 30 years the site has been treating wastewater. Relax – this site is the THIRD, and last phase of treatment and the water leaving Se7en Wetlands Park is released to the Alafia River or used by Tampa Electric’s Polk Power Station. Have no fear, the treated wastewater smells more like a swimming pool than a sewer.
The park is called Se7en Wetlands because there are actually seven wetlands on the site. The first few wetlands are dense marshes and swamps covered with trees and scrub (good for filtering) while the last few wetlands are lakes. If you want to see alligators, you’ll find plenty in these lakes.
Know Before You Go
Stick to the completed trails. These trails are well-marked and feature covered sitting areas. If you pass any “trail ends here” signs, you’ll be on your own – no water or shelter.
The park is open from 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m., daily.
Be sure to bring full water containers, sunscreen and a hat. Pets and bicycles are not allowed at Se7en Wetlands.
There are no paper maps at Se7en Wetlands Park. Access the map from your phone, or print a map from lakelandflorida.maps.arcgis.com.
Getting to Se7en Wetlands
Loyce Harpe Park Entrance
500 W. Carter Rd., Mulberry, FL 33860
Lakeland Highlands Scrub Entrance
6998 Lakeland Highlands Rd, Lakeland, FL 33813
For more information, visit lakelandgov.net or call 863-834-7386.
Photos provided by City of Lakeland.