Entrance sign and kiosk
I would think twice before cooling off in any of the lakes or canals at Prairie Lakes. Between the gators and the snakes, you don't stand a chance.
This is a sight you don't normally see everyday. Alligators lined up along the shoreline of Lake Marian as far as the eye can see. Most of them hit the water before you can get one foot out on the beach. Midges are quite plentiful out here as well. Literally thousands of them will swarm all over you if you try to make your way down the beach. Luckily, they don't bite.
Otters can sometimes be spotted playing around in the water holes at Prairie Lakes. They may look cute and cuddly, but do not try to approach them as they can be very territorial and are known to carry rabies.
If you get a chance, checkout the fire tower that's located onsite. From the top you can clearly see Lake Jackson and Lake Marian.
This cozy little spot is located in "a forest of shady characters" near Road 19 and the white blazed trail. You'll want to stop here and enjoy the view for a while. There is even a place to sit and have a picnic under an old oak tree.
Prairie Lakes has a new observation tower overlooking Jackson Lake. From three different levels you can get an unobstructed view of the surrounding area. Depending on the time of the year, you may see eagles, numerous waterfowl, and if you're lucky you might spot some endangered whooping cranes.
Checkout the new boardwalk! It is nearly 500 ft long and it was put in by volunteers of the F-Troop. No more slogging thru knee-deep water. You can now hike thru the beautiful cypress dome on the north loop without getting your feet wet.
From I-95 (exit 71), take US 192 west until you reach Holopaw (about 21 miles). Turn left on US 441 and head south for about 20 miles until you reach Kenansville. Turn right on Canoe Creek Road (CR 523) and head west for another 10 miles. The entrance is on your left. Sometimes this entrance is closed during hunting season so you may have to use the hunter's entrance (Road 5) which is a mile further down the road.
Self-pay (cash or personal check) at the entrance kiosk: $3 per person, $6 per non-commercial vehicle, $75 for 25 to 100 people, $150 for 101 people or more. Hunters and thru-hikers are exempt.
A no-cost camping permit is required from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 1239 SW 10th St, Ocala, FL 34474, (352) 732-1225. Prairie Lakes has 6 primitive camp sites (Dry Pond Camp, Parker Hammock Camp, Group Camp, Lake Jackson #1, #2, and #3 camps). All are located under beautiful oak canopies. Some are equipped with fire rings, tables and pitcher pumps (non-potable water only). The nearest pit toilet is located at the Lake Jackson boat ramp. Make sure to bring some toilet paper.
There are approximately 12 miles of hiking trails (foot-traffic only) at Prairie Lakes. The trails are laid out in a figure eight shape with the trailhead located in the middle. So as not to confuse thru hikers that are following the Florida National Scenic Trail, half the trails are blazed orange and the other half are blazed white. The entrance road (Road 16) will take you to the trail head. Look for the large green trail sign on the right. Limited road side parking is available. The trails are maintained by the Florida Trail Association.
Also there are two trails leading to the Lake Jackson Observation Tower. One is the 0.4 mile, yellow-blazed Palm Hammock Trail which starts near the parking lot at the end of Road 16. The other is a 0.5 mile, blue spur trail connecting up with the Florida Trail.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission manages about 6,000 acres of hunting land inside the Seminole Ranch Conservation Area. For up-to-date information on regulations and current hunting schedules, please go to MyFWC.com.
Hunting Schedule 2013 - 2014 Archery Sep. 27 - 29, Oct. 4 - 6 Muzzle Gun Oct. 25 - 27 General Gun Nov. 15 - 17, 22 - 24 Wild Hog - Still Nov. 29 - Dec. 1, Jan. 3 - 5 Small Game Dec. 7 - 29 Spring Turkey Mar. 8 - 9, 15 - 17, 28 - 30, Apr. 11 - 13
Color infrared aerial map of Prairie Lakes showing hiking trails, camp sites and roads.
File Formats Downloads TopoGraphix ExpertGPS trails.gpx Garmin MapSource trails.mps, trails.gdb Google Earth trails.kmz
Cardinal Airplant Florida Butterfly Orchid Drumheads Florida Milkweed Largeflower Milkweed Florida Scrub Roseling Button Rattlesnakemaster Rough Hedgehyssop Swamp Rosemallow Rose Rush Low Pinebarren Milkwort Pale Meadowbeauty
Last updated on 18 Nov 2013