The Lake Wales Ridge State Forest is one of the best attractions in Orlando for those folks who enjoy going off the beaten path to discover little known areas. This state forest is quiet and tranquil, even though it is located nest to the Avon Park Air Force Bombing Range. Don’t worry, though, you won’t be in any danger, and as we said, you won’t even hear it!
About the Lake Wales Ridge State Forest
The Lake Wales Ridge State Forest in Florida comprises four areas that present wonderful examples of truly functioning ecosystems. Within the forest, you can find many managed use areas, including those for recreation, maintenance of natural environments, and protection of threatened and endangered species. You’ll find numerous lakes accessible from the forest, including Lake Godwin, Lake Weohyakapka, and Lake Arbuckle.
Lake Wales in Florida gets its name from a narrow ridge running north and south through the Florida peninsula. Years ago, an ancient ocean rose and covered nearly all of the peninsula. The ridge then became an island where plants and animals started and continued to evolve in near isolation.
Currently, the ecosystem that exists on the ridge has some of the highest concentrations of rare and endangered plants found anywhere in the entire continental United States. The Lake Wales Ridge State Forest is a habitat for 24 plants and 19 animals that currently have endangered or threatened status. These species include the scrub jay and the sand skink.
What to Do When You Visit These Orlando Florida Tourist Attractions
The state forest offers lots of opportunities for both the experienced outdoor enthusiasts along with the less experienced visitor. There are hiking trails that can take you through different terrains, from dry scrub environs to forest wetlands. Hikers can explore different hiking trails, including 20 miles of the famous Florida Trail.
During your exploration of the park, you’ll be surrounded by nature’s finest. You’ll be able to spot birds and butterflies flitting among the wildflowers. Of course, you’ll see plenty of other wildlife as well, so don’t forget to bring your camera.
The fees to enter Lake Wales Ridge in Florida are under the state park fee schedule and include an individual fee of $2 for the day use, or alternatively, the state offers and annual day use entrance pass that is applicable for fees for up to six people throughout the year, with the cost being an affordable $45. This is a great option if you and your group are planning on visiting other state parks. Contact us today for more information about the best attractions near Orlando, as well as to find out more information about Lake Wales Ridge State Forest!