“An open, packed trail through the Orlando Wetlands with limited tree cover.”
— Chelsey Warren
Birding · Lake · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Demucking for Cell 14 continues. Alligator Alley and Otter Blvd. are temporarily closed to all traffic including foot, bicycle, horse and tour carts. Watch out for large trucks crossing Wheeler Road; heed the warning signs and approach the crossing with caution. Also expect to encounter trucks, heavy equipment, and pumps along the berm roads around Cell 14 and on some western and southern portions of the park.
This run offers a spectacular view of the Orlando Wetlands, and you'll get a chance to view many species of Florida wildlife up close. We have witnessed many gators, deer, and a large assortment of birds as well as a vast selection of native Florida plant-life. Be warned that on the main loop featured here, there is very little tree cover so you'll want to be prepared with a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen and preferably run at dawn or dusk, especially if running in the hottest months of the year.
Need to Know
This trail is used as an equestrian trail as well, so keep an eye out for riders and horse droppings. Wear sunscreen and bring plenty of water. This run is best done in the early morning or evening to avoid the direct sun.
This is a packed dirt road; be observant, but it is relatively level.
You'll want to park in the main parking lot near the restrooms. Here you can fill up water bottles and find maps as well as other literature on the area. This is a beautiful natural area of Orlando. Come early to avoid the heat as there is little tree cover. There are trails that venture into the forest, but we did not include those sections on this run.
Wildlife is abundant. You are guaranteed to see a few gators. There are a wide verity of birds. This is a spectacular sunset run as well. Many birds roost here for the evening, and you can observe thousands coming in to rest for the night. This run is on a hard packed dirt road that is frequented by equestrians. This loop starts from the education center and heads east on Osprey Boulevard
before looping around to Limpkin Lane
. Turn south on Wetlands Boulevard
to head back to the education center and parking lot.
I did not experience any tripping hazards myself, but as it is a dirt road along the water's edge and surrounded by water on both sides at times, I recommend keeping your eyes open for any potholes or drop offs near the edge.
Flora & Fauna
The open waters of the lake and marshes attract wintering waterfowl including blue-winged teal, green-winged teal, common moorhens and American coots. Wood storks, white ibis, black-crowned night herons, and other wading birds are common during the cooler months. Bald eagles, limpkins, and red-shouldered hawks, black vultures, and turkey vultures can be spotted year round. Raccoons, river otters, white-tailed deer and bobcats can be seen along the roads and trails as well as gators, which can be seen along the trail and within the water. The Orlando Wetlands is home to over 30 species of wildlife that are listed on the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Threatened and Endangered Wildlife list.
History & Background
For more information on the history of the area, click here