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Reported: April 2020

Lake Jesup Conservation Area... Central Florida

Bike, Hike 3 Natural Areas along Lake Jesup

This is fat-tire biking territory, with roots, sandy areas, and muddy spots, not suitable for road bikes. But, it's a quiet, serene area with some scenic views - a pleasant natural oasis in Seminole County (north of Orlando). The Lake Jesup Conservation Area consists of three separate sections. It was established to protect water resources, increase flood protection, and protect habitat around Lake Jesup. East Tract on the south side of the lake is the largest section and the best for biking. Marl Bed Flats and Cameron Tracts on the north side are more suited for hiking. (Map link and photos below.)

Lake Jesup Conservation Area

Map Link...
Lake Jesup Conservation Area


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Location: Oviedo and Sanford, FL (Seminole County)
Mileage: About 4 miles in 3 tracts
Surface: Packed dirt, gravel, sand, grass
Nearby Points of Interest: The Black Hammock (Oviedo), Historic Sanford

Bike Shops/Rentals:

N/A

Support and Advocacy:

Friends of Lake Jesup

LAKE JESUP CONSERVATION AREA... Comments and Photos

Activities are hiking, biking (about 4 miles of trails), equestrian riding, and wildlife viewing. During migration season it's a birdwatching destination. Located entirely within the flood plain and wetlands around Lake Jesup, the area may be flooded during high water. Best during periods of dry weather.
Check for closures .


East Tract

Of the three tracts, we believe this one offers the best biking and hiking opportunities, nicely wooded with plenty of shade. To reach the East Tract Trailhead, from the SR 417 beltway (exit 44) go about 1 mile east along SR 434, left on Hammock Lane and another left onto DeLeon Street to the end, then right on Howard. Go left on Elm St., then it's about 1.25 mile to the trailhead. A kiosk at the trailhead has information and a brochure. From the kiosk, follow the White blaze markers, it's a 1.1 mile loop trail. When you come to a pond is a crossroad, either way it loops to the observation tower and return - the tower has views of the flats and lake. Some sections of trail are narrow and many roots, better for hiking. The river side can flood. This area was once farmland, following restoration efforts it now features oak hammock and cabbage palms with some scenic views.

A nearby stop to relax and enjoy refreshments along Lake Jesup is Black Hammock Fish Camp , with restaurant and bar, alligator and bird attractions, gift shop, airboat rides.


Marl Bed Flats Tract

To reach Marl Bed Flats Tract, from the SR 417 beltway (exit 49) take N. Ronald Reagan Blvd. to Lake Mary Blvd., go east one block and turn right onto S. Sanford Ave. Just before the SR 417 overpass, turn left on Pine Way, then right on S. Mellonville Ave. Turn left onto Oakway - the trailhead is at the end. A sign on the gate at the entrance warns to keep the gate closed due to cattle, we saw many droppings but no cattle at the time we visited. The Red and Yellow blaze trails (combined, about 1.5 miles) start out as one, then diverge - we continued on the Yellow trail. It arrives at a pasture area (still no cattle seen). From here, the trail loops back to again meet the Red trail and return to trailhead. This area alternates between hammock and pasture, not quite as scenic as the East Tract. The trail here is more sandy, we mostly walked as ours are not mountain bikes and hard to push through.


Cameron Tract

To reach Cameron Tract, from the SR 417 beltway (exit 49) take N. Ronald Reagan Blvd. to Lake Mary Blvd., go east about 3.5 miles and turn right onto Cameron Ave. - the trailhead is about 1/10 mile on the left (3555 Cameron Ave. sign on the gate). We can't recommend this for recreational biking (we hiked). As you enter the Conservation Area is a pond, continue straight past the pond to another gate - this section is overgrown grass. Go around the gate into a big field, the path appears to circle the field (no shade) with some paths into the hammock (shaded) around it. We saw just one faded red blaze on a tree. We could see the lake to the right but didn't go there, the pasture is very rutted from cattle with many droppings (we had to watch every step) and decided to return.

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