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First report: 03/12/2013

Eco-biking...  Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge

Lake Woodruff National Wildlife RefugeLake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge

Popular for bird watching (especially in the winter), Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge in DeLeon Springs, Florida, is an excellent Florida eco-biking destination with over 15 miles of trails for hiking and biking. The dikes around the impoundments are relatively easy to ride (some areas are sandy) but many of the trails are better suited to mountain bikes. Note: This ride is recommended during dry weather, the trails and dikes can be muddy when wet. (Detailed map and photos below.)

Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge cover over 21,000 acres. Refuge habitats include freshwater marsh, hardwood and cypress swamp, plus lakes, streams and canals. Over 215 species of bird have been counted including endangered species; other wildlife include alligator, otter, snake, and manatee. A Visitors Center and guided bird walks are available. While the refuge has no boat launches, fishing, canoeing, and kayaking are popular (launch from DeLeon Springs State Park); motorboats are prohibited.


View larger map
Location: From US 17 in DeLeon Springs, turn west on Reynolds Road, then left (south) on Grand Avenue. Continue south to Mud Lake Road (just under 1 mile), turn right and go straight to the parking area (a little over 1 mile). (See detailed map, left)
Mileage: 15 miles of trails for hiking and biking, about 7 miles on the dikes
Surface: Packed dirt, sand, grass
Nearby Points of Interest: DeLeon Springs State Park, Blue Spring State Park, Daytona Beach

THE BEST TRAIL SECTIONS TO RIDE... and additional comments by MUDFISH

Tip #1: Dry weather only. In the SW corner of “Impoundment 3” especially (see Google map above), the sandy clay base when wet becomes the stickiest mud I have ever encountered. Avoid when wet.

Tip #2: Winter is best. More birds, fewer bugs, drier weather, clearer skies, and better sunsets. Along with the wildlife, great panoramic sunsets attract serious photographers from all over. You can find many splendid photos online.

Tip #3: Be aware that the temperature can drop quickly. One January day shortly before sunset, we were biking in sunny 70 degree weather. By the time the sun had completely set and our bikes were back on the car, it was 48 degrees. Walkers and bikers all became sprinters that evening. Glad we had bikes.

Tip #4: A good short workout is the grassy trail through Jones Island (best if mowed recently). There are sandy side trails here, but way too soft for us. Overall for outdoor lovers, when conditions are right, this Refuge is a great place to spend a winter afternoon.

BOBCAT'S PHOTO GALLERY at Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge
(tap or hover over photo for a larger view)

 
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From parking lot to impoundments Along the impoundment Views from the Observation Tower
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Coots One of many benches for resting and bird watching A sandy stretch, becomes sticky mud when wet On Jones Island
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Hammock Trail Loop Gator (that's just its tail, it had to be huge) Pygmy rattlesnake Live Oak Trail at the parking lot

More information on the Lake Woodruff Wildlife Refuge (opens in a new window)

- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service - Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge

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