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Reported: December 2020

Lake Louisa State Park... Central Florida

Natural Biking and Hiking Near Orlando, Disney Area

Lake Louisa State Park in Clermont, Florida, is a 4,300 acre "natural theme park" - a great natural alternative to the nearby tourist attractions. Uniquely situated along the eastern boundary of the Green Swamp and along the Lake Wales Ridge, the park has 11 distinct natural plant communities. Activities include something for just about everyone - camping, paddling, fishing, horseback riding, picnicking, and more. The sand hills provide a workout and scenic vistas while biking and hiking on the 7-mile Park road and 20 miles of multi-use trails. The three main lakes (Louisa, Hammond and Dixie) offer a variety of water activities (more below). State Park fee applies. (Map link and photos below.)

Lake Louisa State Park eco-biking and hiking

Map Link...
Lake Louisa State Park

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Location: Lake County (US 27, Clermont)
Mileage: 7 miles paved park road, 20 miles unpaved multi-use trails
Surface: Asphalt; crushed stone, packed dirt, sand
Trailheads: Parking at entry ranger station, at Lake Louisa and Dixie Lake, along the roads at trailheads.
Nearby points of interest: Orlando, Walt Disney World

Bike Shops/Rentals:

Rentals at the State Park Concessionaire (for paved road use only)

Support and Advocacy:

Friends of Lake Louisa State Park

Lake Louisa State Park... Comments and Photos

The trails meet and cross, so depending on your route you can bike/hike as far as you want. Trail biking here is best for mountain bikes, the multi-use trails can be sandy. Main trails are marked with Orange blazes, side trails and loops are Blue. The paved Main Park Road includes bike lanes, a nice feature! Bring water and sunscreen. Helmets are highly recommended (Florida State law requires helmets for cyclists 16 or younger). A useful trail map is available at the ranger station, or can be printed online. We recommend GPS and/or compass when venturing off-road.

Biking and Hiking at Lake Louisa State Park

Nature Trail

On the Park trail map: #21, 23-29, 31-35

The Nature Trail runs 3.5 miles between the Park entry ranger station and the Lake Louisa trailhead. We hiked and biked from the section at Lake Louisa, starting on the Boardwalk - an easy 1/2 mile hike with interpretative signs. Off the boardwalk on the unpaved path is a mostly easy bike ride (at least in the part we visited) - there are some sandy spots but even without mountain bikes we were able to push through or around most. We followed markers #21, 23, 24, 25, which includes a portion of the Fitness Trail - an Eagle Scout project. There's a Fitness Trail traihead roadside along the main park road.

Trailhead at Ranger Station

Trailhead at Lake Louisa

Boardwalk at Lake Louisa

Unpaved Trail / Fitness Trail

Sandhill Loop

Across from Dixie Lake Outpost is the Pine Point parking area. We both biked and hiked here on different days, following the Sandhill Loop (#36) to the Pine Point primitive camp site and bridge over Big Creek. Signs along the way were helpful. This section was mostly bikeable, there were some sandy spots we elected to push through. We enjoyed hiking here more - we were able to take in the surroundings without having to keep our eyes to the ground.

Biking on the Park Road

There are 7 miles of paved road, the bike lanes along the side are a bonus. Some nice hills add a challenge.

Road to Bear Lake and Equestrian Camp - Unpaved

Off the Main Road, we biked on the access road to the Bear Lake Launch and the Equestrian Camp - not a trail, but an unpaved and sandy road shared by cars. Parallel is the Bear Lake Loop trail, but not having mountain bikes we passed on trail biking. At Bear Lake Launch is parking only. The Equestrian Camp in addition to the campsites has parking, portalet, and picnicking. A shared equestrian trail crosses here.

Road to fork

To Bear Lake Launch

To Equestrian Camp

Lake Louisa State Park

The area was originally designated, but not used, as part of the Seminole Indian Reservation in the 1800's. The property was later owned by the Hammond (1910) and Bronson (1943) families, and over its history housed a sawmill and turpentine still, orange groves and cattle ranch. It was acquired by the state and became a Florida State Park in 1974.

Around the Park

Today, the park has parking, restrooms, playground, picnicking, and camping (more below). Activities include trails for bicycling, hiking and horseback riding; swimming, fishing, boating (non-gas powered) and paddling (rentals available). Uncommon at state parks, at Lake Louisa State Park you can also book a horseback trail ride . Wildlife viewing includes deer, bobcat, gopher tortoises, fox squirrel and a variety of birds including bald eagles and osprey.

The Lakes

Lake Louisa

The largest of the lakes within the park and located at the northern end of the main park road. A boardwalk from the parking lot leads to the beach with restrooms, bathhouse, picnicking and grills, and a playground. The 3.5 mile Nature Trail starts here.

Lake Louisa is part of the Palatlakaha Chain of Lakes. It's fed by Big Creek and Little Creek in the Green Swamp, which forms the headwaters of the Peace, Withlacoochee, Ocklawaha and Hillsborough Rivers and is vital to refreshing the Florida aquifier.

Dixie Lake

Dixie Lake Outpost provides parking, restroom, picnic pavilion, grill, fishing dock, paddling launch, and trail access.

Lake Hammond

Lake Hammond has roadside parking across from the Camp Store at the entrance to the Main Campground. Here are kayak rentals and launch, and a fishing pier.

Cabins, Camping and Glamping

Accommodations are available in cabins and camping (traditional, primitive, equestrian, group, "glamping"). The fully-equipped cabins and the campsite accommodating large RV's make this a good alternative for families visiting Central Florida attractions.

Main Campground

The Main Campground (60 sites) is located between Dixie Lake and Hammond Lake. Compatible with RV's, includes scenic views, fishing piers, bathhouse and laundry.


For an alternative to traditional camping, try glamping - upscale, air-conditioned tent camping. These are located next to the Main Campground.


The 20 cabins at Dixie Lake are fully equipped and comfortable. All with enclosed porches overlooking the lake.

More About the Park:

There's so much here we could go on for pages, we learned a lot from this great article by our friends at www.FloridaRambler.com .


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