I like to go hiking on my birthday every January, so this year we went to Wekiwa Springs State Park to hike. I have camped there quite a few times, I have been in the spring many times, and I have even ran the annual 5k and 10k there (which is awesome and I highly recommend if you are a runner). I've also taken trail runs while camping there. However, I've never went there with the sole intention to hike, until this time!
There are two main hiking trails at Wekiwa Springs. One is over 10 miles long and the other says that it is 5.3 miles long. We opted for the shorter of the two, which is the "orange" trail.
The orange trail is a loop. For the most part it is well marked, but there was some confusion at an area where you turn off. Be sure to look ahead to spot the next orange blaze to ensure you are on the right path still. For a while the trail is orange/white and then it goes to blue/orange (blue is the east/west connector trail), and then back to orange/white.
The loop takes you through a wonderful loop through old Florida. You have wonderful views all around! There is a little elevation here and there, and some of the sand is pretty soft in areas. It takes you past the campground as well. There's a boardwalk that goes off of the trail. On our way back, we decided to take it, which extended our hike a little. The boardwalk takes you to bridge that goes over the spring. It's a nice addition to the hike.
While the park says the orange trail loop is 5.3 miles, it was actually longer. I used my GPS and it came closer to the 6-mile mark, without adding on the additional bit from turning off to end the hike taking the boardwalk back. Overall, we hiked 6.5 miles in total. There are some benches along the route in case you want to take a rest. We did see one pigmy rattlesnake that was on the trail (we took our picture and kindly moved around it to continue on).
This was a great place to take a hike. Be sure to take your swimsuit with you, because no matter what time of the year it is you can still take a dip in the spring, and you will want to. It looks so beautiful and refreshing, and after taking a nice long hike you will be ready for it. There are restrooms and changing rooms that you can use. At this time, there is a $6 per vehicle entrance fee into the park.
It was the perfect way to spend my 50th birthday! After the hike, where we really worked up an appetite, we went over to Ethos Vegan Kitchen for a birthday lunch. Yum!