LOCATION: Magnolia Park Trailhead 2929 S Binion Road Apopka FL 32703 or Wildlife Drive Entrance 2803 Lust Road Apopka FL 32703 LENGTH: Loop Trail - 6 miles Driving trail - 11 miles TYPE: Loop ETC RANKING: 9 ACCESS: Sunrise-sunset USAGE: Moderate FEES: None MAPS: SURFACE: Crushed shell and limestone FEATURES: lake, birds, alligators PET FRIENDLY: Yes
The 20,000 acres that make up Lake Apopka North Shore were once part of the lake itself. The wetlands were separated from the lake in 1941 by a large levee. Lake Apopka is the Florida's fourth-largest lake and is fed by a natural spring, rainfall and stormwater runoff.
The Lake Apopka Loop Trail follows the lake's edge covering more than 20 miles. There are four trailheads for the Loop trail with restrooms at the Green Mountain, North Shore/McDonald Canal boat ramp and Magnolia Park trailheads. No drinking water is provided along the trail.
We biked the Apopka Loop Trail in January 2016 while camping at Magnolia Park. We biked from the Magnolia Park entrance 4 miles to the historic pump house and back to the park. The trail is rather bumpy but the views of the lake and birds in the wetlands is well worth it.
There are restrooms and a picnic area at the historic pump house. After the pump house the loop trail intersects with the north shore wildlife drive for about a mile. There are caution signs all along the trail to be careful of alligators. They like to lay across the trail and sunbathe. We did not see any on our bike ride maybe because it was a cool windy day. There is more information on Magnolia Park here.
We drove the one-way North Shore Wildlife Trail beginning at Lust Road and ending at Jones Avenue. The trail is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday and is under restoration during the week. This is a must if you are staying in the area and love bird watching. It took us 3 1/2 hours to travel 11 miles stopping for viewing and picture taking.
A 1998 Christmas bird count identified 174 species of birds, the highest species total for an inland count. The total list of birds observed on the north shore of Lake Apopka is 348, one of the highest total for any site in Florida.
DIRECTIONS: Magnolia Park Trailhead - 441 North through Apopka. Turn left on Lakeview, then left on C.R. 437 which turns into S. Binion Road.