Another day in Florida and another hike!!

This time we headed over to Lake Wales, where we were looking forward to visiting the Tiger Creek Preserve.

The drive to the preserve is along the picturesque Ridge Scenic Highway, which is a 38 miles stretch of road on the Lake Wales Ridge. Once off the Scenic Highway, there is a further five miles drive on a bouncy orange sandy road with orange groves to either side. Mile upon mile of trees laden with ripe oranges waiting to be picked and made into Florida orange juice…..yummy!

On arrival at the remote site of Tiger Creek Preserve, there is parking for approx 4 cars. It was at this point I realised we appeared to be miles from anyway and my surrounds were so peaceful. This 5000 acre preserve is managed by The Nature Conservancy, who have protected this area since 1971. The Natural Conservancy is a worldwide private conservation organisation, managing and protect more than 119 million acres worldwide.

Maps are located at the head of the trails, with most of the trails starting from Pfundstein. This trail is the gateway to Patrick Creek Loop, Heron Pond Loop or a hiker can go onto the Highlands Loop which extends to the Creek Bluffs Loop. If you decide to take the furthest trail, you will have hiked around 9.1 miles by the time you return to the parking lot.

Ancient Islands

Tiger Creek Preserve is located on Florida’s oldest and highest land mass which is called the Lake Wales Ridge. This is a sand ridge referred to as Florida’s Ancient Islands,  measuring 150 miles through central Florida and being clearly visible from space. This area has the highest concentration of endangered and threatened plants in the USA, with only 10% of the original native habit remaining.

As we walked along the trial, it was apparent how different the landscape is here from previous places we have hiked. There are so many different species of plants and shrubs, even though our visit was during winter. I would imagine in the summer season there would be even more to see.

This is a nice spot along Pfundstein trail, where I sat and soaked up the beauty and atmosphere. I spotted a painted rock on top of the post next to the bench. Geocaching is a popular activity in Florida, where people exchange painted stones at given geographical locations.

As I walk around Tiger Creek, I noticed a number of burnt trees or stumps like the one below. These can be either from lightning strikes, for which Florida has the most lightning strikes in the whole of the USA or due to fire management. Fire management is a controlled burn of a selected area to maintain an ecological balance of species and to improve natural habitat.

If you enjoy the peace of the outdoors and love to hike, I would recommend visiting Tiger Creek Reserve. It makes a great day out, with lots of beautiful and variant landscape to take in. Remember to bring along a picnic and plenty of water because it can get very hot out there! Bug spraying up is a definite must also!

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19 thoughts on “Tiger Creek Preserve

  1. Wow another awesome place to check out. Tiger Creek is a little more than and hour due west of me. I bet you were a little warm checking that place out since the weather has been a bit warm here. Saw the bug spray mentioned since I was going to ask a mosquitos. Love your travels through Florida. Great photos and thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. We grew up in South Florida and did a lot of hiking there over the years. It reminds me of a few hikes we did in Ocala and Naples. If you visit Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples, they also have those fire charred trees throughout the hike. This was very nostalgic, thank you for the post. 🙂

  3. This looks like a nice peaceful little hike. The painted rock is pretty cool… I’ve thought about seeking out some geocaching locations in my current city. And that’s an interesting piece of trivia that Florida has the most lightning strikes in the US!

  4. Looks like an amazing place for a hike! Have yet to visit anywhere in Florida but it looks like a great place to visit (I only think of Disney, the Everglades and Miami so it’s great to know more about the state!(

  5. This seems a great place for a hike. I haven’t been to US but hopefully I will get there soon. My boyfriend is always looking for geocache on all our trips and he has been to Florida – I will ask if he checked there as well. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Love the look of this place and I would really enjoy walking that trail. The landscape is beautiful – not what I imagine when I think of Florida! Looks like great day out!

  7. Previously, living in Florida most of my life I have explored a good bit of the state. Thanks so much for sharing another side of Florida that people don’t take time to see. The state really does have some great places to explore off the beaten path. Nice pictures!

  8. Another great hiking spot, Sam. Beautiful flora and I like that there are a few hikes to choose from allowing for time restrictions or fitness levels. Great post!

  9. Looks like an awesome hike! My only visit to Florida included the Orlando theme parks – must come back one day explore the nature, for sure. Tiger Creek Preserve looks like a peaceful walk with nature!

  10. I’m from Florida and we’ve barely hiked any trails here. Time to add hiking Florida trails to our “to-do list”. We do geocaching once in a while and it’s quite fun! Until you get ticks….that only happened once.

  11. I’m really enjoying learning more about Florida through your posts. I had always only thought about it in turns of swamps, so it’s great to learn about the different sides to the nature there. Beautiful walking trails at Tiger Creek.

  12. Wow, the Tiger Creek Preserve looks like an amazing place to go for a hike and relax. I will be in Miami in April and hoping to see a few other places in Florida. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Thank you! We are in Miami for 5 days, so hoping to visit the Everglades for a day. Is there anything else you would recommend?

  13. I have been to Florida but not for hiking just the attractions. I am shocked. I never expected the landscape to look how it does with the red dirt and the charred trees. It mimicks the Top End of Australia in many ways. Thanks for putting Tiger Creek on the map. I really would love to do this hike one day.

  14. I must admit I’ve never thought about going hiking in Florida but this looks absolutely amazing! Perhaps now I have an excuse to get to Florida sooner!

  15. Tiger Creek looks like a great place to hike, and I echo what others have said about it looking like Australia, especially the burnt trees. You are really showing us another side of Florida with your posts so thank you! #feetdotravel

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