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Lake Wales Ridge Camping

Region: South Atlantic Activity Type: Camping Place: Frostproof, FL

I am planning a hiking/primitive camping trip in the Arbuckle Tract/Lake Wales Ridge State Forest - along Lake Arbuckle's southeastern shore. There are 5 primitive campsites (each with a fire pit and a picnic table) beautifully positioned in topographically unique areas of the park. The campsites are ONLY accessible by foot along the clearly blazed 20 miles of trails. Because the forest operates under LEAVE NO TRACE principles and because hikers must pack ALL of their supplies with them, I am considering this as moderately strenuous to strenuous in nature. The idea is to hike to Lakeside Camp for lunch then hike/pitch tents at Creekside Camp for the the night. The next morning break camp and hike past Grave Island Camp (sounds spooky doesn't it?) to pitch our tents for the night in Isabell Campsite. To complete a loop, we would hike past little Lake Godwin back to our cars. The distance between the campsites where we pitch our tents is just under 5 miles on hard packed to sandy to grassy trails; no elevation to speak - this Florida, after all. I did half of this park by myself during spring break and it is truly, truly beautiful!

The forest service operates under an honor system for fees; the cost is a whopping $10 per night per person. Each of us would pay $20. The sites have to be reserved in advance, hence the rationale for gauging interest so folks can consider participating.

Lastly, I am in the midst of researching kayak rentals for a 3-4 hour paddle up and then back down the very lazy Arbuckle Creek. The views of the landscape and wildlife literally brought me to tears several times; it is REALLY that gorgeous! Please let me know if you (or any out of region friends) are interested in (all or part) hiking/camping and/or the kayaking. (Dates: May 19-21)

 

JPHiker Mar 23, 2017 at 8:16 AM

I definitely like this idea. Let's talk some more about it. At the GO Gathering last January, Ron H. led a trip at the Archbold Nature Center, which is a nature preserve on the ridge. I'd love to spend some more time there.

Virgin White Mar 23, 2017 at 8:46 AM

Count me in, though I wish it were milder weather. I have been training my hiking distance to 7 miles. Five should not be a problem.

Mrwritenow Mar 23, 2017 at 7:01 PM

Virgin, if you have been training for 7 miles with a pack then this will not be a problem for you at all. It is already pretty warm here so I am sure the "milder weather" is now history. JPHiker, we can talk at PrideFest on Sunday while waiting for the parade and at moments in Bryant Park. I missed the Archibald Nature Center and would like to do that, too.

vadheim Mar 24, 2017 at 9:22 AM

I am scheduled to be in Riverview for work the following week, so I might be interested in coming down for the Saturday and Sunday activities (I would be flying into Tampa from working in Lexington Kentucky, so I don't think I can get there in a decent time for Friday night activities).

trekkr Mar 24, 2017 at 3:49 PM

Let's do it! I'm in for the 2-nites camping. Let's put it on the schedule and make it a blast!

trekkr Mar 24, 2017 at 3:49 PM

http://www.freshfromflorida.com/content/download/29770/752669/lake_wales_ridge_map.pdf

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