The trailhead kiosk map shows two loop tracks, so we came back to scout out detours. What we found is that, in truth, only one loop is a practical walking.
Thats the one that starts at the kiosk and enters the woods there. The external loop was not at all kept on our last visit, so weve left it off the map.
For a brief walking, the path at South Lake Sanctuary is surprisingly spunky. You wouldnt presume that driving past, or even from the trailhead.
Once youre on the primary loop, it leads you up and over the Atlantic Coastal Ridge a couple of times, making for a sloping, picturesque walking.
Treking through a tunnel of scrub on the main loop
However, even with some innovative bushwhacking to connect open areas, we handled to lose it totally in a thicket of overgrowth which intensified at the back of the maintain.
It begins with a side trail that leads from an alternate trailhead, a back gate for pedestrians from a dead-end road in the adjacent Lantern Park community.
Attempting to follow the overgrown path
Our writeup below focuses on the primary loop, which is clear and easy to follow. It surprised us with a go to by two Florida scrub-jays, so it was absolutely worth the walking!
Florida scrub-jay at South Lake Conservation Area
Resources for exploring the area around South Lake Conservation Area
Disclosure: As authors and affiliates, we get earnings when you purchase these through our links. This assists us provide public information on this website.
Simply around the corner from this preserve is an entrance to Salt Lake WMA, which joins this protect and has forest roads you can bike.
While bikes are welcome, soft sand is a big part of this loop through the scrub. We do not recommend biking this loop. Cyclists may find it useful to cut through here on the grassy stretch between Lantern Park and the primary trailhead.
Area: TitusvilleLength: 1.2 mile loopTrailhead: 28.6406, -80.8765 Address: 4500 Lancaster Ln, TitusvilleFees: FreeRestroom: NoneLand manager: Brevard CountyPhone: 321-264-5185
Open sunrise to sunset. No pets permitted. Many of this walking is out in the open. Use sun protection.
Recalling at the two path junctions after passing them.
Turn right at the grassy berm along the ditch and youll see the main loop being available in from the left where we describe it at mile 0.9, below.
A walk-through stile leads from the parking area to a long, straight forest roadway paralleling a deep canal, dug back when this location was a dairy.
A young longleaf pine gains a foothold in this transition zone.
For now, pass it by, as well as the next junction right away after it on the. Continue through this fairly flat area in the scrub.
From Interstate 95 exit 223, Mims, drive west on SR 46 one block to Carpenter Rd. Turn left. Continue 2.2 miles south to the four-way stop at Dairy Rd. Turn left. Within a mile, you pass a trailhead on the left for Salt Lake WMA and the road curves, changing its name to Ford Rd. Turn right at the next crossroad into the trailhead parking lot.
Path into the scrubby flatwoods.
Passing by scrub hickories and small magnolias, the much deeper into the preserve you go, the more it shifts to scrub.
Follow the clear course that diagonals away to the right of the kiosk. Its what would have been Lancaster Ln if the neighborhood kept growing.
The very first of numerous panoramic views.
Passing another high pine, the trail emerges to a broad sand road that cuts across the protect. Turn right to remain on the outer loop.
The trailhead kiosk is just a little ways up on the. It reveals the map with both loops. Our route follows the inner loop. Turn right.
Youll go back to this junction later on in the hike. Its the return side of the near loop to the trailhead, which nets a 0.8 mile loop if you turn here.
Lantern Park residents can enter through a back gate stile at the end of Lancaster Ln. There is no parking here, however a popular kiosk. You might lock a bike to the fence.
Seeing the 2nd scrub-jay. See our video at the top of the page for both.
Look down into the leaf litter, too. On one visit, we also had a six-lined racerunner blazing a trail up and over this ridge.
The trail is a narrow sandy path through scrubby flatwoods with a thick understory of scrub. It is sporadically marked with yellow diamonds on posts.
The trail gradually leads up to the top of a ridge, however you definitely discover the climb. Reverse to be rewarded with a panorama of the scrub landscape to the northwest.
Coming downhill off the very first ridge.
We might see the sentinel of the household– the one that sounds the alarm– further out on a taller tree. When it called, they left.
It remained in a clearing along this part of the path that two Florida scrub-jays settled into the trees near us, curious as to why we existed.
High longleaf pines– and the bleached remains of pine trunks– tower above the landscape. Dont be amazed to see an osprey or bald eagle set down on one, fussing.
The back gate in Lantern Park.
The descent from the ridge is much steeper than the climb up. As soon as the path levels out, it reaches its very first junction at 0.4 mile, in front of two tall pines.
It was around this point, well into the small scrub forest, that we saw initially saw blurs of blue overhead and heard the distinct call of Florida scrub-jays.
John strolling along the sand road.
While the plant life adjacent the path is thick, the textures are intricate. Smilax vines spill over the rounded kinds of saw palmetto.
There was a pass-through stile in the fence to make it possible for a walk over to Salt Lake WMA, however its been blocked off. Throughout Dairy Rd, Salt Lake WMA likewise has some nice hiking.
Bracken ferns increase from the bright white sand. In early summer, lots of tarflower were flowering, bring in butterflies and bees.
It pops at out a retention pond that is likewise noticeable from Dairy Rd as you drive by. Sometimes a hawk or osprey will hang out in this area.
The retention pond along Dairy Rd
As the path flattens out a bit, there is a large wetland location sweeping to the left in a bowl in the scrub.
Weve only seen scrub-jays this close on among lots of check outs, but we are thankful to know they are here.
The dogleg off the perimeter path.
. The path turns delegated follow its edge and then begins climbing up into the scrub. Through a break in the trees, a wetland is visible in a swale.
View along the descent.
The trail to the right is the side trail resulting in the Lantern Park neighborhood and to the thick outer loop, if you want more places for birding.
The trail concerns a T crossway, sealing the far loop. Turn right. Concerning the next junction practically immediately, turn right and continue uphill.
Pass the trailhead kiosk and reach the stile in the fence out to the parking lot, completing this 1.2 mile walking.
After another climb, the trail reaches the sand roadway that you were on earlier, however at a point further north.
Its a remarkably high climb. We heard both Eastern towees and more Florida scrub-jays in the scrub forest as we treked uphill.
To stay on the return loop to the trailhead, turn left. This is the least intriguing part of the protect as its simply a long grassy strip adjacent a deep ditch.
When once again, youre in the area of the one scrub-jay family we know to be here, and there may be another chance to find them.
Gopher apple grows a lot here, so it wasnt a surprise when we came throughout a gopher tortoise and found its burrow.
Junction of the sand road and the path.
Reach the crest of the hill and descend to the bottom, a gentle roller-coaster through the scrub. The path ends up being grassy underfoot, with grapevines tangled through the understory.
Weve identified bunnies along it, and great deals of wildflowers, including passionflower and dayflower. Alligators or herons might be at the bottom of the ditch.
Low bush blueberries near the wetland.
At the crest of the hill is another fine panorama, this one to the southwest. It continues as you descend till the scrub surrounds the path once again.
Where the path reaches a post with an obvious water crossing up ahead, youre midway through the hike. Turn left and start climbing uphill through a tunnel of scrub.
Scrub hickories grow profusely in the understory. Climb to the top of the ridge through another corridor of scrub oaks.
Making the final descent off the scrub ridge.
The grassy strip along the ditch.
Cross it and continue along the narrow corridor through the scrub. It feels like a corridor between the trees.
John at the crest of the hill.
At 0.9 mile, the path emerges from the scrub onto a broad mowed area at a marker pointing the method you came.
Small grassy patches open spots between the otherwise thick sand live oaks, Chapman oaks, and myrtle oaks.
Check out More!
More worth checking out while youre in this area.
See our pictures of South Lake Conservation Area.
While bikes are welcome, soft sand is a big part of this loop through the scrub. It shows the map with both loops. Our path follows the inner loop. The trail turns left to follow its edge and then starts climbing up into the scrub. The trail comes to a T intersection, sealing the far loop.