QUICK TRAIL FACTS
- Preserve Size: 167 acres
- Trail Mileage: ~3 miles in network
- Pets: yes
- Difficulty: easy
- Sights: boardwalks, shallow lake and wetlands
There’s nothing terribly tropical about Florida Lake, but it is lovely, though can be quite wet, especially in the spring. (It’s named after Florida because its shape resembles the state.) There are bog bridges, and pretty boardwalks, as well as flat embankments along the lakeshore to sit on or stroll along while listening to birdsong. Bring your binoculars! Some people bring their canoes.
The preserve is one of Freeport Conservation Trust’s two northern parcels, along with Hidden Pond. A 2.1-mile loop trail makes its way around the lake, which is shallow and good for birding. It’s easy to wander off the trail at some points, so take care. Another 1-mile loop takes you to a view of a little stream, Collins Brook.
As you walk into the preserve from the parking area, you walk along what appear to be manmade canals and waterways? They’re quite pretty. A friend of mine dug up this historical information on the preserve (from a town report): Beavers built a dam on Collins Brook in the 1940s, according to the Cummings family who farmed the land there for many years, flooding almost 30 acres. In the 1960s, the Cummings, “like many farmers in the area,” began offering recreational opportunities on their property, including installing a small railroad and stocking the lake with trout. When the Cummings sold the property, it was converted into a campground until the town purchased it in 2002.
Directions: To get there, take Route 136 north of I-295. At the blinking yellow light, turn right onto Route 125 (Wardtown Road). Drive 2.4 miles to a blue Florida Lake sign on the right. Follow the dead-end access road to the parking area. There is an additional parking area, for several cars, off Baker Road.