REI

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Oakland Nature Preserve - 2/19/2017

Date of Hike - 2/19/2017

Oakland Nature Preserve
747 Machete Trail,
Oakland, FL 34760



My husband and I recently wanted to start a new tradition of a weekly hiking excursion. We have a 9 month old daughter and want her to experience nature from a young age. So what we have done is get together 20+ different hikes in our local area, print them out, and once a week we randomly select one to hike. It's like a surprise each week!

This week we pulled at random Oakland Nature Preserve. It was a wonderful choice. This place is tucked back into some neighborhoods and in fact you have to drive thru a church parking lot to get to it.

Upon arrival you see an old fish camp and lots of small nature trails.



After parking we went to explore the huge log building which is the main office and bathrooms. They had lots of rocking chairs, fish tanks with native fish, old well and even an out house.







Before going on the trails there are cute sitting areas with beautiful flowers, and even an area for some turtles! Really interesting learning experience. 














The beginning of the trail is on a beautifully kept boardwalk. It was actually quite wide which made it great for when there are small crowds of people (even though it was empty when we went). There were also many bird watchers there and photographers taking pictures of the birds and nature.




About halfway down the boardwalk there is a nature trail with a sign that says "bird watching" to the right. Make sure to stop by here. As you walk around there are old gazebos and even an animal rescue farm that has Zebras, yes I said zebras!!! You can see them and other exotic animals right thru the fence!














After walking the loop around the nature trail get back onto the boardwalk and continue all the way to Lake Apopka (total of 2/3rd a mile from start of boardwalk to end of boardwalk, one way). There were so many amazing things to see. Lots of plants and trees, and small creeks that flowed to the lake. It was quite beautiful. 

















After the short hike the trees open up and a HUGE covered deck appears with lots of views of Lake Apopka. There is even a visual timeline on the dock to tell you of all the events that happened at Lake Apopka over the last 100+ years. 





After taking a mini break to enjoy the view we walked back towards the beginning of the boardwalk and found another nature trail at the beginning of the boardwalk. It was to the right, behind the main log building. The trail went out to the Orange County Trail, and also went back into an area where there was a "Sink Hole". To be honest I am not sure we found the sink hole. We found an area that was a few feet lower but nothing extraordinary. However there were lots of great trees and more sitting areas to rest at. 






















All in all it was a wonderful hike. I definitely want to return here again to explore more of the hidden gems this place has to offer. 

For more information on this location go to their website:







SEE YOU NEXT WEEK