Residents know Palm Island Park as the go-to location for viewing birds and alligators along the edge of Lake Dora.
Ever since, weve returned often times to enjoy its mild charm. The old-growth live oaks, high cabbage palms, and ancient cypress attract numerous birds to roost.
For us, however, it was a surprise find when trying to find the Dora Lighthouse. Seeing individuals walking a boardwalk on the far shore, we needed to know why.
Invasive species battle for the understory, but the boardwalks focus your attention on the lake and its homeowners. On a meandering path, you can stroll up to a mile.
Young alligator resting on a live oak branch in the water
Resources for exploring this area
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Fishing welcome, but no casting from the boardwalk. Access the shoreline or utilize the platforms supplied.
The park opens daybreak and closes at sunset. You definitely do not want to be out there at sunset when the birds are being available in to roost.
Location: Mount DoraLength: 1 mile in a figure-8 loopTrailhead: 28.793683, -81.641817 Address: 411 S Tremain St, Mount DoraFees: FreeRestroom: At nearby Gilbert ParkLand supervisor: City of Mount DoraPhone: 352-735-7183
Rather of walking through eviction, take the path to the right. It quickly relies on a natural surface area walkway and meanders through the woods.
A covered shelter under the palms and oaks.
Follow the boardwalk around one last time, relishing the views, to reach the front gate and finish your mile-long walk.
Typical gallinule below the boardwalk.
The boardwalk ends at the cross path (the same one that resulted in the pointer of the peninsula) and restarts on the other side.
The overload comes right up to the paths edge.
After the curve in the boardwalk, there is a ramp resulting in a broad path into the cypress. Take this to discover an ancient tree with a hollow in it.
You should duck under this large tree on this side trail.
The course is simple to follow.
Looking throughout the cove to the Dora Lighthouse.
Looking down into the water, specifically on the coastline side, weve seen coots and rails, moorhens and mergansers.
In this near part of the cove, search for into the trees to see anhingas drying their wings, and cormorants and ibis roosting.Look down into the grassy waters to identify young alligators. This is the most likely location in which to identify them.
Up in the trees, expect cormorants, ibis, and smaller egrets, including snowy egrets and little blue egrets.
After passing beneath the oak canopy, it emerges out to the cove of the lake again. From here you can see the boardwalk stretching around to the entrance gate.
At this T junction, turn right. The footpath is broad and barely above the level of the surrounding swamps.
The boardwalk fronting Lake Dora.
Stroll along the walkway towards the lighthouse to find Old Joe.
Sealing the loop, you reach the ramp leading down to the cypress with the huge hollow in its base. Stay on the boardwalk and follow it around to eviction.
When you return to the hollow cypress, turn right and stroll back up the ramp to the boardwalk.
A thick upper canopy keeps the walk shady. Take the next left for an exploration down a dead-end path with a lot of large trees along it.
Follow the boardwalk to start. It swings out over a cove in Lake Dora and parallels the cypress-lined coastline.
At the next trail crossway, turn left to walk out to the very pointer of the peninsula on Palm Island, surrounded by marshes.
From United States 441, follow Donnelly St. through downtown Mount Dora. Turn left on E. 3rd Avenue, and right on S. Tremain St. Continue to the end of the street where it intersects with Liberty Ave, and park in the lot.
The marsh at the end of this side trail.
Keep an eye out, however look inwards, too. At the curve the boardwalk makes, weve often spotted alligators climbing right up the live oak branches to sun.
The hollow cypress.
Reaching a T crossway with homes behind it, the left causes the community while the right causes the hollow cypress. Turn right.
Return back to the intersection and turn left. Around a half mile, this course satisfies the boardwalk that sweeps around along the open water of Lake Dora.
As it winds through the cypress, note the size of these giants. The understory is reasonably open so you can see the boardwalk in the distance.
From the parking location, follow the paved course through the park gate. You are immediately faced with an option: a path to the left through the cypress, or the boardwalk.
A roofed platform has benches, giving anglers a location to erupt of the sun and mobility-challenged visitors to rest.
Returning to the very same intersection, continue straight ahead up until you discover the next. It causes a set of routes closer to the shoreline.
See our photos of Palm Island Park.
More worth checking out while youre in this location.