Lake Apopka North Shore
Wildlife Drive schedule
The Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive is open between sunrise and sunset on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and the following federal holidays:
- New Year’s Day — Jan. 1
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day — Third Monday in January
- Presidents’ Day — Third Monday in February
- Memorial Day — Last Monday in May
- Independence Day — July 4
- Labor Day — First Monday in September
- Columbus Day — Second Monday in October
- Veterans Day — Nov. 11
- Thanksgiving Day — Fourth Thursday in November
- Christmas — Dec. 25
On the northern shore of Lake Apopka, in Lake and Orange counties, northwest of Orlando.
Lake Apopka is in the headwaters of the Ocklawaha River and was targeted for cleanup under the Surface Water Improvement and Management Act of 1987. Major activities include marsh and floodplain restoration and the creation of a marsh flow-way system that filters Lake Apopka’s waters by circulating lake water through restored wetlands. In 1996, the Florida Legislature passed Chapter 96‑207, Florida Statutes, furthering its previous mandate to clean up the lake by providing funds to buy additional agricultural lands north of the lake. Restoration of these farmlands to functioning wetlands is expediting cleanup efforts.
The Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive meanders through the eastern portion of the property. It is a one-way, 11-mile drive that begins at Lust Road and ends on Jones Road in Orange County, Fla. The drive is open Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and federal holidays between sunrise and sunset. The entrance gate is open during daylight hours and closes approximately one hour prior to sunset to allow visitors to complete the drive and exit the property prior to sunset. The speed limit is 10 mph and the maximum vehicle length is 25 feet. Vehicles pulling trailers are not allowed.
Visitors are asked to follow directional signs. Several “pull over” areas are provided along the drive and stopping is limited to the pull over areas. A portion of the drive intersects with a multi-use trail (shown as the Lake Spur on the property map accessed at the top of this web page) and visitors are encouraged to carefully watch for hikers, bicycle riders and other users who will be sharing the road.
A 1998 Christmas Bird Count (CBC), a one-day count performed annually during the holiday season, identified 174 species of birds, the highest species total for an inland count in the 115-year history of the CBC. Bird diversity is extraordinary in this area, and the bird list continues to grow. That list, as of late 2014, includes 362 species, 16 of which are exotics. Other wildlife include alligators, turtles, otters, bobcats and coyotes.
- Hiking, bicycling, horseback riding and wildlife viewing are allowed at Clay Island. Hiking and bicycling are also allowed along the Lake Apopka Loop Trail. more info
- Group tours for environmental education are available on the restoration project area by appointment.
- Boating and canoeing opportunities are available on Lake Apopka.
Restrictions: more info
- Motorized vehicles are not permitted, except on the wildlife drive.
To access the Clay Island entrance, from Orlando, take U.S. 441 north to Zellwood; go west on Jones Avenue, then south on State Road 448A to County Road (CR) 48 and west on Ranch Road. If traveling from the town of Astatula, take CR 48 east to Ranch Road. Take Ranch Road south, then turn west on Peeples Drive, then south on Carolyn Lane to the parking area.
To access other entrances to the property, click on one of the Google Maps locations listings at the top of this page and enter your starting destination in the space provided.
For more information:
Call the district’s Bureau of Land Resources at 386-329-4404.