family hiking at circle b bar reserve

Nature & Hiking

Trails for Hiking, Cycling & Running

Central Florida’s unlimited natural beauty is yours to discover. Explore ancient islands that provide refuge for rare plants and animals found nowhere else in the world. Our beautiful city, county and state parks in Central Florida offer you a wide range of distinctive opportunities to soak up some sun during your next Florida vacation.

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Diverse Natural Communities

Polk County is larger than Rhode Island, which means we are large enough to have many different ecosystems and landscapes. Polk County is a place where in the span of only a few miles you can go from a freshwater marsh on the shores of a lake, to a desert-like scrub habitat complete with prickly pear cactus.

Some of the more distinct natural features to explore in Polk County include Lake Wales Ridge, Floodplain Swamps, Wet Prairie, and Scrubby Flatwoods.

State Parks in Central Florida

Follow blazed trails through our unique landscape at Colt Creek State Park, Lake Kissimmee State Park, or Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park. All together, these three state parks in Central Florida have over 31-miles of hiking and equestrian trails to explore. Arbuckle WMA and Walk-in-the-Water WMA in the Lake Wales Ridge State Forest has 12.2-miles of equestrian trails and more than 50-miles of hiking trails combined.

County Parks & Reserves

Whether you are interested in seeing ancient beach sand dunes, unique plants and animals, or looking to explore the Green Swamp with its majestic cypress domes, Polk County’s Environmental Lands Program offers visitors many ways to discover Florida’s true nature. The County’s nine parks and reserves include SUMICA, Lakeland Highlands Scrub and Crooked Lake Prairie.

Polk County’s most popular outdoor area is Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland. In 2011, USA Today named Circle B Bar Reserve on of “51 Great Places to See Wildlife.” Circle B, a 1,267-acre reserve, is popular for birding and alligator watching.

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Avon Park Air Force Range

Avon Park Air Force Range

106,000 acre active military training facility and recreation area south of Lake Wales. The Air…

Address: 8005 County Road 64
Avon Park , FL 33825

Phone: 863-452-4254

Marshall Hampton Reserve

Grassy Panther Point Trail at Marshall Hampton Reserve in Winter Haven, FL

Reserve west of Winter Haven offers ample trails for hiking, running and cycling. Marshall Hampton…

Address: 3115 Thornhill Rd
Lakeland, FL 33880

Phone: 863-665-0062

Tiger Creek Preserve

Creek Bluffs Loop at Tiger Creek Preserve

Tiger Creek Preserve in Babson Park covers more than 4,800 acres and is owned and…

Address: 674 Pfundstein Rd.
Babson Park, FL 33827

Phone: 863-635-7506

VisitTCP@tnc.org

Crooked Lake Prairie

sandy scrub hiking trail at Crooked Lake Prairie in Babson Park, FL

Situated on Polk County's only state-designated "Outstanding Florida Water Body," Crooked Lake Prairie is home…

Address: 985 Ohlinger Rd
Babson Park, FL 33827

Phone: 863-534-7377

Circle B Bar Reserve

Hiking Trail, Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland, FL

A prime destination for hiking, bird watching and cycling. Visit the Polk Nature Discovery Center…

Address: 4399 Winter Lake Rd.
Lakeland, FL 33803

Phone: 863-668-4673

Arbuckle Tract at Lake Wales Ridge State Forest

Sandy access road at Arbuckle Wildlife Management Area in Frostproof, FL

Arbuckle Tract at Lake Wales Ridge State Forest is a 13,530 acre property in Frostproof…

Address: Lake Arbuckle Rd. & Rucks Dairy Rd.
Frostproof, FL 33843

Phone: (863) 589-0545

Se7en Wetlands Park

Se7en Wetlands Park

1,600 acre area comprised of marshes, uplands and lakes offering more than 8 miles for…

Address: 500 W Carter Road
Mulberry, FL 33860

Phone: 863-834-7386

Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park

Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park, Haines City, FL

State Park in Haines City featuring long, sugar sand trails along the Lake Wales Ridge.

Address: 4335 Firetower Rd
Haines City, FL 33884

Phone: 863-696-1112

Pine Ridge Nature Preserve at Bok Tower Gardens

Nature trail through scrub and trees at Pine Ridge Nature Preserve. Carillon Tower in the distance at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, FL

This nature trail can be accessed near the entrance of Bok Tower Gardens in Lake…

Address: 1151 Tower Blvd.
Lake Wales, FL 33847

Phone: 863-676-1408

LEARN & DISCOVER

Carillon Tower at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales

Bok Tower Gardens

Historic Bok Tower Gardens, a national historic landmark, features two hiking trails, 50 acres of gardens, the 20-room El Retiro…

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Safari Wilderness Ranch

Safari Wilderness Ranch

Knowledgeable tour guides at Safari Wilderness Ranch will lead the way through 260-acres in custom safari vehicles, answering questions and…

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Alligator Cove Tours

Alligator Cove Tours

Captain Andy of Alligator Cove Tours at Camp Mack, a Guy Harvey Lodge, Marina & RV Resort in Lake Wales…

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