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Latest update: July 2020

Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area... Central Florida

Natural Eco-biking and Hiking Near Orlando

Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is located along the St. Johns River in Christmas, Florida (east of Orlando). Entry is on Taylor Creek Road, between SR 50 and SR 520. About 22 miles of mostly hard-packed roads within the WMA are bikeable for fat-tire bikes. We found Powerline Road best for biking (on a weekday); Fish Hole Road and Long Bluff Road are also bikeable but with more sandy/rough sections. Mostly sunny, some shade; better as a cool weather ride. About 30,000 acres, the WMA has more than 60 miles of hiking trails including 12 miles of the Florida National Scenic Trail. There are many trailheads and trail crossings (some allow bikes, some hiking only), with parking areas marked frequently along the roads. Pay a per person day-use fee at the entrance. (Map link and photos below.)

Lake toso Loop Trail

Map Link...
Tosohatchee WMA Biking

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Location: Orange County (Taylor Creek Road, Christmas)
Mileage: 22 miles, plus more on WMA trails
Surface: Crushed stone, packed dirt, sand
Trailheads: Parking at entry kiosk, St. Johns River at the end of Powerline Road, and at Lake Charlie. Parking along the roads at trailheads.
Nearby points of interest: Orlando, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach

Bike Shops/Rentals:


Support and Advocacy:

Florida's Wildlife Legacy Initiative

Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area... Comments and Photos

Since this is on the river the area can also flood. When too wet or too sandy, the WMA is shut down to vehicles - check with FWC for closures (Northeast Region). Picnic tables are available; there are restrooms at the check-in station and Lake Charlie but no other facilities - bring water and snacks. During hunting season (Sept. - March), wearing hunter orange is recommended. Florida law requires bikers under 16 wear a helmet.

Powerline Road to St. Johns River

Entering off Taylor Creek Road is the daily permit fee station and a hunter's sign-in. Powerline Road is very rideable to the St. Johns River. While the WMA fronts the river for about 19 miles, the only river access is at the end of Powerline Road. On weekends especially, this can be a popular fishing spot. Boats and airboats may be seen. Looking north and across the river is a shelter, it used to be an enclosed cabin but now an open pavilion.


Along the St. Johns River: Example of shoreline at low water (left) and high (right)

Water levels can fluctuate. One year at very low water we were able to bike along the riverbank. Many alligators.

Lake toso Loop Trail
Lake toso Loop Trail

Fish Hole Road / Long Bluff Road

Off Powerline Road, take Fish Hole Road or Long Bluff Road to Lake Charlie (either way, it's a long loop back to Powerline - see map). Several trail crossings and trailheads through this section, most trails are hiking only but some allow bicycles. Fish Hole and Long Bluff intersect where the trail goes under the Beachline to Lake Charlie. Here we start along Fish Hole Road, to Lake Charlie, and return on Long Bluff Road to the powerline and river.

Lake Charlie

Lake Charlie is a man-made lake, created in the 1970's when the nearby Beachline Expressway was built. A popular fishing and birding spot, it includes parking, restroom, picnic tables and covered pavilions, fishing pier. Canoes, kayaks, and boats with electric trolling motors are allowed.

Hiking at Tosohatchee

One hiking option (there are many)... Along the powerline road is a parking area across from a wooden bridge that crosses a canal. Trails lead both ways, north and south. We crossed the bridge and hiked a short distance on the south trail, then another leg on the north trail.

More About Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area:

The name comes from the Seminole name "Tootoosahatchee" for the creek (called Chicken Creek by pioneer settlers) along the St. Johns - now called Tosohatchee Creek. Later a cattle ranch and then a private hunting preserve, the property was acquired by the State in 1977. Part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail, Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area features over 200 bird species. Other wildlife include alligators, Florida black bear, white-tailed deer and many others. Habitats include floodplain marsh and swamp, wet and pine flatlands, and hammock. Activities include hiking, biking, horseback riding (prohibited during hunting season), fishing, primitive camping, and hunting.


Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission - Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area

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