We Tried It! Local Hiking Trails

By Wellness360 Magazine

November 17 is National Take a Hike Day and our team decided to celebrate by getting outside and exploring what beautiful trails North Central Florida has to offer. Here are our experiences with some of our favorites!

LINDSEY -> O’Leno State Park Hiking Trails (0.61 mile to 3.69 miles) If you want to go off the grid for a bit, I highly recommend O’Leno State Park. The beautiful woods will instantly make you feel relaxed and connected with nature. There are approximately 11 miles of trails available in various lengths along with another 35 miles of trails available in adjacent River Rise Preserve. Some trails follow the banks of the Lower Santa Fe River for a spectacular view, including the spot where the river goes underground! A rustic walking bridge, campground and restroom facilities are available as well. The trails primarily run through the woods and are shady but don’t forget the insect repellent. This trail truly feels like stepping back in time and forgetting the problems of the modern world.

OVERALL: 5 STARS

MEGAN -> Depot Park/Hawthorne Trail: (0.8 mile to 16.5 miles) I thoroughly enjoy this trail because there are many people around, it has beautiful scenery and it is paved. You can stay within the confines of Depot Park or venture further down the Hawthorne Trail, which connects to the Depot Park Trail. However, be aware of bikers on the trail and I highly suggest not going out past dark. My favorite thing to do on this trail is to walk a few loops around the park close to dusk, then grab a picnic blanket and a beer from Boxcar and sit and watch the sunset on the hill. Perfect way to ease the mind and end the day!

OVERALL: 5 STARS

ANIBAL -> Silver Springs State Park Hiking Trails (0.75 mile to 4.6 miles) My youngest daughter and I really enjoyed this particular trail because, not only do you get a chance to soak up the natural beauty of one of the most famous springs in Florida, but also get a sense of the history associated with the park. For many years it served as a famous Florida theme park; as we walked, we found throughout the trails many signs that share the story of each location, which we found very educational. Due to the fairly recent conversion to a state park, many of the facilities are very new and well kept. During our visit we enjoyed both the walking trails and the historic 30 minute glass-bottom boat tour of the springs which was, to be honest, the highlight of the day. When visiting, make sure you visit their website and plan your trip accordingly. There are plenty more things to do within the park such as canoeing, playgrounds, kayaking and scheduled events.

OVERALL: 5 STARS

In a nutshell: It felt great to get outside and explore locally. North Central Florida is full of beautiful scenery and offers some amazing hiking trails. If you need a little alone time with mother nature or just looking for something fun to do with the family, we highly recommend getting outside and taking a hike on November 17th!

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