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Find Adventure and Natural Beauty at these Five Preserves on Florida’s Adventure Coast, Brooksville – Weeki Wachee



Noted as being ‘environmentally sensitive lands,’ preserves offer some of the richest biodiversity and beautiful landscapes in Hernando County. Enjoy a natural escape with family and friends, whether by walking, hiking, cycling or even horseback riding. Although they all make for an affordable adventure, each park offers something unique that even locals are surprised to find! Read on to explore these five hidden gems and discover which one is likely to become your next favorite hidden gem.


1. Cypress Lakes Preserve


Located in Ridge Manor on the eastern edge of Hernando County, this preserve is an underrated pick for a short hike in a truly beautiful setting. Containing over 300 acres, Cypress Lakes Preserve offers peaceful views of a variety of habitats along a 1.5-mile section of the Florida National Scenic Trail. Highlights include the cypress swamp, with its beautiful old cypress trees (some enormous) that hikers can view from the trail; another is the wooden bridge over a sinkhole where water drains from the cypress swamp.


Trailhead: 32375 Cortez Blvd, Ridge Manor, FL 34602


More information and map of Cypress Lakes Preserve



Cypress Lakes Preserve



2. Fickett Hammock Preserve


Like the Cypress Lakes Preserve, this spot offers a short hike close to Brooksville and Weeki Wachee. A 2.3-mile loop trail through hardwood hammocks, flatwoods and sandhill offers plenty of shade and tree species, as well as a stream that flows seasonally. Leashed dogs are allowed; please help keep this trail beautiful by picking up after your pet.


Trailhead: 15842 Centralia Rd, Brooksville, FL 34614


More information and map of Fickett Hammock Preserve



Fickett Hammock


3. Lake Townsen Preserve


Lake Townsen Preserve offers something for everyone and amenities that make it a great choice for families with children. Bounded by the Withlacoochee State Forest to the north and the Withlacoochee River on the east, 374 acres offer miles of trails for hiking and cycling, as well as 5.5 miles of horseback riding trails. Visitors have access to the paved Withlacoochee State Trail plus many park amenities, including a small boat ramp and fishing pier, picnic pavilions, restrooms, playground, baseball, basketball and volleyball courts.

Location: 28011 Lake Lindsey Rd, Brooksville, FL 34601


More information and map of Lake Townsen Preserve



Lake Townsen


4. Chinsegut Hill


Located atop the highest point in Hernando County, Chinsegut Hill is the site of an antebellum home situated on a 114-acre preserve. Open Saturdays and Sundays, the manor house museum offers tours for $5 per person. For free, you can walk the grounds around the home while enjoying several interpretive signs that help tell its history. Surrounding the grounds are a number of habitats, including sandhill, pine and hardwood forests. A short hiking trail leads visitors to Lake Lindsey, although it is not well marked. For a deep dive into its natural history, join a guided nature walk of the grounds and trails at Chinsegut Hill Historic Site, offered monthly.


Location: 22495 Chinsegut Hill Rd, Brooksville, FL 34601




5. Weekiwachee Preserve


With over 10,000 acres preserving the southernmost coastal hardwood hammock in western Florida, the Weekiwachee Preserve is a natural gem. Located just south of the famed Weeki Wachee Springs attraction, the preserve protects a variety of habitats including several miles bordering the Weeki Wachee River, portions of the Mud River, dense hardwood swamps, freshwater and saltwater marshes and pine-covered sandhills.


Before it became a preserve, limestone mining near the entrance to the park created unique features of high cliffs and large freshwater lakes. Today visitors can enjoy approximately 5.5-miles of paved and unpaved trails, as well as 4.3 miles of marked forest roads to explore by foot or bicycle, or for walking with your leashed pet.


An excellent spot for wildlife viewing, the Weekiwachee Preserve is listed on the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail, both for birding and the small population of Florida black bears living in the preserve. Note that the bears are both shy and seldom seen, spending most of their time deep in the forest away from humans; watch for scat and other signs along the trails.


Location: 2345 Osowaw Blvd, Spring Hill, FL 34607


More information and map of Weeki Wachee Preserve


Weekiwachee Preserve


These are just a few of the outdoor adventures you’ll find in and around Brooksville and Weeki Wachee. Explore our Land Adventures and discover more ways to enjoy on our trails, parks and preserves on Florida’s Adventure Coast.







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