Lake Monroe Conservation Area is made up of 7,487 acres of mostly wetlands and it's split up into two tracts: the Brickyard Slough Tract (4,141 acres) and the Kratzert Tract (3,346 acres). Both places offer opportunities to go camping, hiking, biking and horseback riding.
Located along the shores of Lake Monroe in southwest Volusia County, Florida between Osteen and Sanford.
From exit 223 on I-95, go west towards Sanford on State Road 46 for about 23.7 miles. Turn right on State Road 415 (Chuluota Rd) and head north towards Osteen. At about 3 miles you should see the main entrance to Lake Monroe's Brickyard Slough Tract on your right. If you continue down SR 415 a short distance and turn left on Reed Ellis Road, the entrance to the Kratzert Tract will be on your left about a mile up the road.
Note: There's a walk-in entrance to the Brickyard Slough Tract off of Lemon Bluff Road
The Brickyard Slough Tract was formerly known as the Beck Ranch. It was purchased by the state on February 14, 1995. About 997 acres of the tract was purchased by the Florida Department of Transportation for mitigation. On April 9, 1997, another 227-acres of the land was conveyed to Volusia County for a recreational park in exchange for the 50% interest the county had on the Kratzert Tract. As of 2009 a lot of the farm buildings and structures were still standing although probably not for long. I hope they can preserve some of them.
The Kratzert Tract was previously known at the Osteen Ranch. It was named after Minnie Beck Kratzert, whose family owned the land before the Water Management District and Volusia County acquired it on December 29, 1987. There use to be an old corral and a campsite located in the oak hammock near CR 415. A white blazed trail called the Oak Hammock Trail use to take you right by it but that has since been closed down.
There's also a number of shell middens scattered through out the conservation area. For more information on them and other archeological sites, see Jon Endonino's research report "The Thornhill Lake Archaeological Research Project: 2005-2008".
Lake Monroe Conservation Area has numerous trails mostly catered for horseback riding but you can hike on them as well. On the Brickyard Slough side there's the 1.9 mile red-blazed trail that starts at the trailhead near CR 415. It passes by a man-made pond before entering a beautiful oak hammock and the flood plains of the St. Johns River.
There's also a 5.0 mile yellow-blazed loop trail. It splits off from the red-blazed trail at about 0.6 miles from the trailhead. Make sure you bring plenty of water as the trail tends to be out in the open on old abandoned jeep trails. You can also get to the yellow-blazed trail from the Lemon Bluff Road trailhead using a 0.5 mile access trail.
On the Kratzert side there use to be two white blazed trails. One took you across an open field along Reed Ellis Road before turning west and heading out towards Lake Monroe. That trail is no longer being maintained. The other white blazed trail is about 1.4 miles long. It crosses an open field with planted pine trees, then enters the woods before returning back to the parking lot.
Lake Monroe Conservation Area currently has two primitive campsites. One is located in the Brickyard Slough Tract near the St. Johns River. It's available on a first-come, first-served basis. Up to four tent sites are allowed with no more than six persons per site. It has three benches and a picnic table situated around a fire ring with grill. The campsite can be accessed by boat along the St. Johns River or by land using the red-blazed trail. A beautiful view of the river and the surrounding oak hammock makes this an ideal place to go camping. Just watch out for the stray cows that might wonder through camp during the night.
The other campsite is located in the Brickyard Slough Tract near the Lemon Bluff Road access trail. It's available for group reservations only. To obtain a permit, you should contact the District's Division of Land Management office at (386) 329-4404 at least 7 days in advance. The campsite has a port-o-let, picnic table, a large grill, a pitcher pump and a fire ring with benches around it.
In the past there were three other campsites: Horse Camp, Caesar Camp and the Oak-Hammock Group Campsite. You can still find some of their remains hidden back in the woods.
This old bike has been in this tree for as long as I've known this place (about 10+ years). You're welcome to bike on any of the trails. Just make sure you yield to hikers, equestrians and especially trees.
Although the Lake Monroe Conservation Area doesn't offer any boat ramps or canoe launch sites, it does have a foul weather shelter located along the St. Johns River about a mile east of the CR 415 Osteen Bridge. So if you see an old "shack" nestled among some tall palm trees overlooking the river, you found the safe house.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission manages hunting at Tosohatchee. For up-to-date information on regulations and current hunting schedules, please go to MyFWC.com.
Hunting Schedule 2012 - 2013 Archery Sep. 15 - Oct. 14 Muzzle Gun Oct. 20 - Nov. 2 General Gun Nov. 3 - Dec. 30 Small Game Dec. 31 - Mar. 3 Spring Turkey Mar. 9 - 10, 16 - Apr. 21
File Formats Downloads Garmin MapSource trails.mps TopoGraphix ExpertGPS trails.gpx Google Earth trails.kmz National Geographic TOPO! trails.tpo
Last updated on 13-Sep-2012