12 of the Most Scenic Places to Go Hiking in Orlando for All Levels
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While it’s best known for its theme parks and entertainment options, Orlando has some wonderful green spaces and nature areas to explore. Although these spots often get overshadowed by everything else going on in Orlando, there are some stunning preserves, state parks, and conservation areas that boast some of the prettiest scenery in the region. We created this guide to the best spots for hiking in Orlando to help you plan your next outdoor adventure!

You won’t find a ton of elevation gain on most hiking trails near Orlando (it is Florida, after all), but you will find a variety of terrain, lovely water views, and cool spots for wildlife and plant viewing. There’s no better way to get some fresh air and explore the Orlando area than by tackling one of these beautiful hiking trails.

Photo Credit: Joe Flood (Flickr CC)

Best Hikes in Orlando for All Levels

The Seminole-Wekiva Trail

  • Trail Length: 13.6 miles total (but can be shortened!)
  • Location: Altamonte Springs

The Seminole-Wekiva Trail is one of the quintessential places for hiking near Orlando. For an urban hike, it offers basically everything you could ever want in a trail: wildlife viewing opportunities, lots of trees and tropical plants, both paved and unpaved sections, and a variety of sun and shade. It’s also quite long – 13.6 miles end to end – although you can always choose how long or short you want to make your hike! On weekends, you’ll find runners, hikers, and bikers out on the Seminole-Wekiva trail, and if you go early in the morning, you may run into some local wildlife as well.

Photo Credit: Joe Flood (Flickr CC)

Mead Botanical Gardens

Perfect for kids, couples, and solo hikers alike, the trails at Mead Botanical Gardens extend across several miles through some of the most lush ecosystems in the area. Wooden boardwalks and shady trails take you through the botanical garden grounds, where small waterways wind through some warped trees and other swampy plants. There are several trails all over the park grounds, so you can choose your own adventure depending on how long you want to hike and what you’d like to see.

Photo Credit: Rain0975 (Flickr CC)

Wekiwa Springs Hiking Trail

  • Trail Length: 6.3 miles
  • Location: Wekiwa Springs State Park

Popular for swimming and paddling, Wekiwa Springs State Park is home to some fabulous waterways and shaded trails for hiking near Orlando. There are lots of local bird species that call Wekiwa Springs home, and if you get lucky, you may even see a deer or a snake. We love the picturesque wooden boardwalks that wind through lush areas of tropical plants and trees, and this is one of the quieter trails in the area, especially early in the morning when there’s still fog in between the trees.

Photo Credit: P. M. Reddy via Florida Wildflower Foundation (Flickr CC)

Disney Wilderness Preserve

  • Trail Length: Varies
  • Location: Disney Wilderness Preserve

Disney isn’t just a conglomeration of theme parks and entertainment districts; they’ve also got an entire wilderness preserve that’s perfect for a day of hiking in Orlando! There are three trails at the Disney Wilderness Preserve – the red trail, the yellow trail, and the nature trail. Here, you can see lots of local wildlife, including birds and snakes.

Home to several native plant species, you’ll find towering trees and warped roots all over, giving the preserve a somewhat spooky look that’s perfect for photos. We’d recommend avoiding this trail after heavy rain or wet weather, as many sections can become very muddy or washed out.

Orlando Wetlands Park

For a peaceful, easy trail for hiking in Orlando, head to the Orlando Wetlands Park. Home to many species of local reptiles, birds, and mammals, you can experience some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities in the greater Orlando area thanks to the proximity of the wetland ecosystems. Sightings of gators, raccoons, deer, snakes, and local marine birds are common here, and the easy trails offer fun and adventure for any levels of hikers.

Photo Credit: B A Bowen Photography (Flickr CC)

Kolokee Loop

  • Trail Length: 5 miles
  • Location: Little Big Econ State Forest

Little Big Econ State Forest is one of the most popular areas for hiking in Orlando, and the Kolokee Loop is one of two trails in the area that made our list of the top hikes in Orlando. The Kolokee Loop is a longer trail than most of the easy trails on our list, but it’s still suitable for beginners and families who want a bit of a longer adventure outside. Along this trail, you’ll pass by the Econlockhatchee (Econ) River and through the surrounding forests. You’ll also have a unique opportunity to see alligators in the wild along the river, which are one of the most coveted local species visitors want to see in the area.

Little Big River, Digbat, Ditch of Doom and Flagler Trail

  • Trail Length: 9.4 miles
  • Location: Little Big Econ State Forest

This trail is a favorite of more experienced hikers in the Orlando area. While there’s not a ton of elevation gain on this trail, the terrain changes, length, and variety of landscapes create a fun environment for more experienced hikers to enjoy. Like the Kolokee Loop, this trail runs by the Econ River and offers opportunities to see alligators lounging on its banks. Watch out – this trail is popular with mountain bikers as well, so you should probably watch out for them whizzing by you on some of the narrower stretches.

Photo Credit: Rain0975 (Flickr CC)

Black Bear Wilderness Loop Trail

  • Trail Length: 7.3 miles
  • Location: Black Bear Wilderness Area

A local favorite for hiking in Orlando, the Black Bear Wilderness Loop Trail is a wild, special place for enjoying nature and viewing some of the most incredible wildlife in the area. This trail is one that’s often host to repeat visitor because no two hikes are alike – the wildlife and plant life in the area is constantly changing. Visitors report seeing wild boar, raccoons, deer, alligators, snakes, owls, lizards, and more on the 7.3 miles of trail this area offers.

Because of its location in a protected wilderness area, this trail is extra quiet and tranquil, perfect for an escape from the city.

Photo Credit: Andrew T. Sullivan (Flickr CC)

Split Oak Forest Green Trail

  • Trail Length: 3.4 miles
  • Location: Split Oak Forest Wildlife And Environmental Area

Looking for a stunningly beautiful and easy hike that’s suitable for the whole family? Tackle the sandy trails of Split Oak Forest Green Trail, where you’ll wander through towering oak trees and shaded forests, and have the opportunity to see the namesake Split Oak tree – a tree with two sides that share a root base. In true Florida fashion, many of the trees in this area are covered in Spanish moss and have an eerie look to them as you meander through this flat trail.

Three Lakes Loop

  • Trail Length: 5.3 miles
  • Location: Split Oak Forest Wildlife And Environmental Area

Another great trail for hiking in Orlando is the Three Lakes Loop at Split Oak Forest. Much like its name suggests, this 5.3-mile trail takes you to three lakes in the park, each with its own distinctive charm. This trail is a little longer than the more heavily trafficked Split Oak Green Trail, and you may find that you have many sections of it all to yourself! If you’re looking for a longer Orlando trail that’s still accessible to most hikers, the Three Lakes Loop is a great choice.

Photo Credit: Rain0975 (Flickr CC)

Lake Jesup Observation Platform

  • Trail Length: 2 miles
  • Location: Lake Jesup Park

For those looking for a low key, easy trail that’s perfect at sunset, look no further than the Lake Jesup Observation Platform Trail. This mostly flat, dirt trail winds through wooded areas and along the waterfront for a varied hike that’s suitable for beginners, kids, and hikers of any level. You’ll often find people trail running and walking dogs here as well. Along the way, you’ll find a wooden observation tower you can climb for a more panoramic view of the park area.

Shingle Creek

  • Trail Length: Varies
  • Location: Kissimmee, FL

If you’re looking for a relaxed, suburban hiking area that’s great for all levels of hikers, Shingle Creek is a popular option. This is less of a single trail and more of a network of trails that run along the namesake creek and the surrounding forests and marshlands. Along the trail, you’ll find lots of pretty scenery and the opportunity to see local wildlife, including alligators and wetland birds. Family-friendly and dog-friendly, this is a popular local trail, so we recommend heading there early in the day if you prefer to avoid the crowds!

Additional Resources for Hiking in Orlando

What to Bring

  • Breathable hiking clothes – For warmer hikes, you’ll want to stay cool in a sweat-wicking shirt/tank top and breathable pants, like these Patagonia hiking shorts for men and women. For cold-weather hikes, we recommend dressing in layers, including merino wool baselayers for men and women, a down puffer jacket for men and women, and a Northface waterproof outer shell for men and women. And don’t forget a pair of the best women’s and men’s hiking socks in the world! For more information, check out our guides to hiking shorts for men and women and our top tips and gear for hiking in winter.
  • Water bottle – Having water available at all times is a huge must. To limit disposable plastic, we recommend bringing your own refillable water bottle. We’re obsessed with Hydro Flask water bottles because they keep water cold for hours.
  • Sunscreen and bug spray – This should be self-explanatory, but sweatproof sunscreen and DEET bug spray can help you avoid sunburn and bug bites, two of hiking’s most annoying after-effects. Our favorite kind of sunscreen is Sun Bum, as it is free of harsh chemicals and safe for marine life, including coral reefs.
  • A brimmed hat or cap – The sun can be brutal in open hikes, so always pack a brimmed hat or cap for day hikes in the sunshine.
  • Emergency blanket and first aid kit – We’d strongly recommend bringing a first aid kit and a lightweight emergency blanket on every hike. Why? Because the unfathomable can happen, and it’s always best to play it safe.
  • Durable day pack – A durable day pack is the perfect spot to stash all your hiking gear. While any backpack will do, we recommend the Osprey Tempest 20 or the Talon 22 day packs because they’re comfortable and breathable for long hikes. For more information, check out our best day packs for any terrain guide.

Wondering what exactly you should pack for your next hike? Visit our Complete Day Hiking Packing List for our full list and our top gear recommendations.

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Kay Rodriguez is the founder of Urban Outdoors. She's also the writer and photographer behind Jetfarer. When she's not writing furiously on her laptop or editing photos, you can find Kay running, hiking, surfing, or playing in the snow.

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