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On one of our drives down to Ocala last year we stopped at this Orange Lake Overlook area for something, I can’t remember what now, and saw there was a hiking trail!
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AllTrails – This is my favorite hike tracking app.
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National Park Obsessed – This is the best national park planner.
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After driving past a few more times we finally decided it was time to stop and actually do the hike. And I’m so glad we did!
I had no idea what to expect (what’s new?) on this new trail but did think we would get closer to the actual Orange Lake.
And I guess technically we did but the only time you could really see it was from the top of the hill at the trailhead.
We started out going to the left but you can go either way. We saw people doing it opposite of us. It was such a nice day out when we went.
Sunny but not too hot but also really dark and stormy looking, it was perfect. The trail starts out without many trees in a sort of prairie field before turning into a wooded area.
It’s a wide trail and easy to follow the whole way. About halfway down there is a shortcut across to the other side if you don’t want to hike the full loop.
As we were leaving the wooded part on our way up the hill we found a little snake in the brush! We stopped for some pictures and it was just the cutest.
It was starting to get a bit warm once we were out of the woods, and we were going uphill, but it was still so nice. It was just such a quiet hike, I loved it!
And back up at the top of the hill by the parking area there were a bunch of orange trees WITH oranges on them! That was the first time I got to see orange trees up close.
We didn’t eat any (I’m not sure if it was allowed) but I still very much enjoyed just looking at them and taking their pictures.
I really enjoyed this trail and would definitely recommend it if you’re in the area and want a fairly short, easy, quiet hike.
Where is the Orange Lake Overlook Trail?
The Orange Lake Overlook Trailhead is at the Marjorie A. Hoy Memorial Park between Gainesville and Ocala on Highway 441. It’s just south of the small town of McIntosh.
There’s a small building at the parking area along with some orange trees! It’s not a huge parking lot but there’s enough room. I’ve never seen more than one or two cars there.
It’s also just a short drive from Micanopy (one of my favorite towns ever) and the Tuscawilla Preserve, another nice short hike.
How long is the Orange Lake Overlook Trail?
The Orange Lake Overlook Trail is 1.2 miles for the full loop but if you want something shorter, there is a 0.1 mile shortcut right in the middle making it a bit of a figure eight.
Is the Orange Lake Overlook Trail hard?
Nope! You do go downhill though (no matter which direction you go) so you’ll have to hike back up but it’s not too bad.
I suppose compared to other Florida hikes it’s a lot of elevation but compared to out west it’s nothing. But it’s easy so no worries.
The first and last section don’t really have any shade so it can get hot on those parts but the bottom section where it curves around is all shaded.
Is the Orange Lake Overlook Trail worth it?
Or, if you live in the area, it’s a great hike where you’re likely to have a little solitude. While you can really only see the lake from the trailhead, it’s still a great hike.
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Have you hiked the Orange Lake Overlook Trail? How was it? Do you want to hiike this trail?