Five Best Places To Hike in Kissimmee and Saint Cloud

Take kids to conservation and restoration areas to safely enjoy the outdoors during Covid

By Helen Lovell-Wayne March 27, 2021

During these uncertain times, most families are getting a little restless.  Most people want to get out but they are afraid of the risks.  One way to minimize the potential problems of going out is to transport yourself to wilderness areas.  At these places, you are surrounded by vegetation rather than people.  This is not to say you should not bring a mask in case you run across other people.  I have listed below five large tracts of land for your family to explore right here in Osceola County, Florida.

1) Twin Oaks Conservation Area.  This area was purchased in June 2010  through the Environmental Lands Conservation Program. The 370-acre land parcel provides protection and enhancement of water resources, flood storage, and wildlife habitat along beautiful Lake Tohopekaliga (Toho).  Twin Oaks contains improved pastures, live oak hammocks, wet prairies, freshwater marshes, shrub wetlands and remnant cypress. The property was previously a cattle ranch and produced sod. This property required extensive restoration efforts to return this landscape to its natural state. During the first phase of land restoration over 45,000 new native plants were introduced by hand. Twin Oaks provides a conservation area for native wildlife and it is a  source of passive recreation for the public.  This area contains the following amenities: equestrian trails, fishing opportunities, hiking trails, picnic areas, primitive camping, and a chance to view wildlife.  The address is 2001 Macy Island Road Kissimmee, FL 34744

2)  Lake Lizzie Conservation Area.  This area is a 1,076-acre preserve located on Lake Lizzie, Bay Lake and Trout Lake in the Upper Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. The property protects important ecological communities.  This area offers views of lakes, wet prairies, freshwater marsh, wetland hardwood swamps, scrubby pine flatwoods, and the imperiled sand pine scrub and xeric oak scrub communities. The diversity of these communities is represented within the preserve to increase the potential for utilization by many protected species. Several crucial and unique species can be found in the area.  These animals include gopher tortoises, sandhill cranes, osprey, limpkins, and wood storks. Several listed plant species, such as slender club moss, hooded pitcher plant, sand holly, cinnamon fern, and the big yellow milkwort are also found on the property.  The area contains the following amenities: hiking trails, equestrian trails, primitive camping, and wildlife viewing.  There are two entrances one is located at  6495 Old Melbourne Highway, Saint Cloud, FL 34771 and the other at 6810 Midland Drive, Saint Cloud FL 34771

3) Lake Runnymede Conservation Area.  In 2007, Osceola County purchased the Lake Runnymede Conservation Area through the Environmental Lands Conservation Program.  This is a 43 acre preserve is located along Lake Runnymede, and touches Lake Tohopekaliga in St. Cloud.  Prior to the County purchasing this property, it was utilized for cattle grazing.  This area consists of natural upland and wetland habitats. The uplands include hardwood forest and scrub.  The wetlands consist of freshwater wetlands and lakeshore. These habitats support a few listed species including sherman’s fox squirrels, bald eagles, gopher tortoises, sandhill cranes, and wading birds. These habitats can be experienced via two short trails (0.75 and 0.35 mi) that take the hiker through large mature oaks covered with native ferns and air plants. Amenities include hiking trails, picnicking, primitive camping, and wildlife viewing. The address is 4600 Rummel Road St. Cloud, FL 34771.

4) Tupperware Island Conservation Area/Brownie Wise Park. In December 2014, Osceola County purchased the Tupperware Island Conservation Area through the Environmental Lands Conservation Program. It is a 25-acre land parcel that provides protection and enhancement of water resources and wildlife habitat located along Lake Tohopekaliga (Toho). Tupperware Island is characterized by freshwater marshes, shrub wetlands and remnant cypress. Before acquiring the land it was utilized as a cattle ranch and a place for fruit production. The property requires immense ecological restoration efforts. The reintroduced plants placed in this area include: saw palmetto, longleaf pine, cabbage palm, cypress, oak, bay, magnolia, bluestem, wiregrass, and wildflowers. Tupperware Island provides a conservation area for native wildlife and a source of passive recreation to the public. This area contains the following amenities: hiking trails, canoe and kayak launch, picnicking areas, pavilion rentals and wildlife viewing. The address is 1150 Aultman road, Kissimmee, Fl 34744

5) Cherokee Point Conservation Area.  In June 2012, Osceola County purchased the Cherokee Point Conservation Area with funds from the Environmental Lands Conservation Program.  This property consists of 183 acres along the shores of Lake Tohopekaliga, in the serene Goblet's Cove area. The property protects both picturesque wet pastures and an upland peninsula. This site is frequently visited by a variety of bird species including endangered Everglades snail kite, Sandhill Crane, Bald Eagle, Limpkin, white pelican (winter), and several waterfowl species. Amenities include Bank Fishing (catch & release), boardwalk, canoe/kayak launch, hiking, wildlife viewing, rental pavilion, ADA accessibility, wedding rental, and bridal preparation room, playground.  The address is 2501 Cherokee Road St. Cloud, FL 34772. 

I hope everyone has a safe enjoyable weekend.

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