Split Oak Forest Hike
10525 Clapp Simms Duda Rd, Orlando, FL, USA
Sunrise to sunset
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Split Oak Forest Wildlife and Environmental Area is a 6.4 mile hike through some rugged Florida terrain.
The area is a mitigation area for a quickly developing portion of Orlando, to give wildlife refuge as expansion continues to occur. For us it offers untouched paths through what feels like backcountry parts of Florida.
The park itself is in the Lake Nona area, right between Orlando Interantional Airport and bordering the city of Kississimee. Parking is available off the entrance in a small lot or off the side of the road; but there is not a formal lot designated for this area. The park is strictly for hiking or horseback riding; no other vehicles or animals are allowed beyond the entrance way.
The full hike is several miles, through area of high grass in untouched terrain and with only one way back. Prepare ahead if coming and keep it mind it can be tough on little ones, so stick to the path and do not attempt the loop if they can't manage a long hike. The best way for the faint of heart to see this is to the follow the map and take it out to one of the view points, and then follow the markers back. If wanting to do something a little longer, try the loop alone, which is roughly five miles and can be easily achieved with older kids, if moderately paced. Start early so you do not reach the heat of the day, and come prepared with plenty of sunscreen, snacks and water! And be aware of weather - there are not shelters so make plans to turn back if a Florida thunderstorm appears to be rolling in.
The terrain at one part does connect to Moss Park, a popular area featuring playgrounds and campgrounds. But as for Split Oak, it is strictly for hiking! Make your way between the two for a day of adventures, but make plans to camp at neighboring Moss Park.
If you want help hiking, visits Friends of Split Oak Forest for guided hike opportunities when available - https://friendsofsplitoak.org
After all that work, if you're ready for a quick bit to eat, head to Tijuana Flats off Narcoossee Road for Mexican to celebrate your efforts! There is also a local favorite, Jeremiah's Italian Ice, for a sweet treat to cool down!