Hiking the Hidden Waters Preserve

Hidden Waters Preserve stream before flowing into the marshland.

A stream flowing under a branch to the sink of Hidden Waters PreserveFlorida is not known for it’s mountains. Or foothills. Or even particularly majestic wrinkles in the landscape. But what we do have is some pretty big holes!  Elevation changes abound if you know where to look. Sinks and quarries are scattered throughout the state, and we even have a few caverns.

A particularly pretty example of a sink is Hidden Waters Preserve. Tucked between East Crooked Lake and Lake Joanna in Eustis the 90-acre natural preserve is managed by the Lake County Water Authority. Miles of trail bend and twist around the sink – through long-leaf pine on the rim and transitioning as the stream cuts a fissure to the marshland below. The location receives moderate foot traffic so trails are well marked, and you’ll likely run into other hikers appreciating the 105-foot elevation change.

Keep an eye out for Prickly Pear Cactus (there is quite a lot) and scores of gopher tortoise dens (that might have new residents). This is a preserve, so visitors are encourage to take only pictures.

Parking is available on Country Club Road. Park hours are 8a-Sunset. For more information, call the Lake County Water Authority at 352-343-3777 or visit http://www.lcwa.org.


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