Last minute! Bring your camera (or binoculars), your walking shoes and head west to Lakeland for a nature hike through one of the more popular nature preserves in central Florida. The Circle B Bar Reserve, on the northwest shore of Lake Hancock, is a former cattle ranch that today boasts a wide variety of plants and animals. You can see several distinct ecosystems in this reserve of only 1,267 acres. You're almost guaranteed to see alligators in Lake Hancock, often considered the headwaters of the Peace River, which flows more than 100 miles from Polk County southwest to the Gulf of Mexico.
CIRCLE B BAR RESERVE
Circle B Bar Reserve (http://www.polknature.com/explore/circle-b/?section=Default&subsection=Habitat&path=circle-b) offers many opportunities for wildlife viewing -- alligators, turtles, wading birds, turtles and maybe a bobcat. The hike is scheduled a bit earlier in hopes of maximizing our viewing opportunities. There is a network of trails along levees that were built atop the preserve's wetlands and I expect our hike route to last 6-6.5 miles. We will stop at a viewing area along Lake Hancock and an observation blind that overlooks the wetlands. Pets are prohibited.
PLEASE BRING: Water (required). RECOMMENDED: Snacks, insect repellent, good hiking/walking shoes, binoculars and sunscreen. Parts of the trail will be sunny and parts will be shaded. Trails may become wet and muddy during the rainy season and during periods of heavy rainfall. Restrooms and a portable toilet, if Discovery Center is closed, a portable toilet is available near the main parking lot/trailhead.
DIRECTIONS TO CIRCLE B
I-4 West to Exit 41 for FL 570W (toll) toward Auburndale/Lakeland/Polk Pkwy. Exit 14 FL-540W Winter Lake Rd. Continue 540 west and turn left on first cross street still on 540. Continue on 540-W until Circle B entrance appears on your left. Once you enter Circle B, stay on the winding entrance road and we will meet at the main parking lot located near the Nature Discovery Center.
Please review driving directions in advance and let me know if you have any questions. Please leave a comment if you wish to carpool.
We can meet at the picnic area adjacent to the main parking lot:
For those interested afterwards, we can grab lunch at a local lunch spot!