Seminole Ranch is a 29,145 acre conservation area that spans four counties (Seminole, Brevard, Volusia and Orange) and is situated along the St. Johns River about 10 miles west of Titusville. Recreational activities include hiking, horseback riding, camping, fishing and seasonal hunting.
South Entrance on Wheeler Road:
Take State Road 50 to County Road 420 (Fort Christmas Road). Go north until the road makes a sharp turn to the left. Turn right on Wheeler Road and go straight until it dead ends. On your left you'll see Orlando Wetlands and on the right is the parking area for Seminole Ranch. GPS coordinates: N28° 34.139 W80° 59.768.
North Entrance on Hatbill Road:
Take State Road 46 to Hatbill Road (look for the Loughman Lake Lodge sign). Follow Hatbill Road for about 4 miles. You should see the trail head parking on your right. If you end up in a boat ramp area, you've gone too far. GPS coordinates: N28° 37.149 W80° 57.946.
Most of the single-track hiking trails are located in the southwestern section of Seminole Ranch near Christmas. One of them is a 4.66 mile section of the Florida National Scenic Trail. This orange-blazed foot trail starts just north of SR 50 near the Christmas RV Park and St. Nicholas Road and ends at the fence crossing to Charles H. Bronson State Forest. There's also a 2.8 mile white-blazed trail that intersects with the FNST in several locations making it possible to do a 5.2 mile figure-eight loop hike. Both trails can be accessed by following a 0.8 mile blue-blazed trail from the main parking lot at the end of Wheeler Road.
Depending on the time of year you may encounter some water on the trail particularly during Hurricane Season (June thru November). Some very nice foot bridges were installed a few years back to try and keep people's feet dry, but you can only bridge so much.
Trail During the Wet Season
Wildlife abounds in this area of Seminole Ranch. Not only will you likely see deer, raccoons, squirrels, armadillos, wild turkeys and plenty of other birds, but you might even stumble upon an alligator using the trail. This poor guy was probably just trying to get to the next waterhole and chose to take the "easy" route.
Gator Out Hiking the Trail
Cows are also quite prevalent in Seminole Ranch. Although they are typically fenced so they don't get on the trails, they do sometimes wonder in from the St. Johns River. They have a habit of leaving "surprises" for the unwary hiker to step in.
Cow Pasture with Many Surpises
Seminole Ranch has two group campsites, one at Fish Hawk Pond and another at Hatbill Point. Both are equipped with fire rings, picnic tables, benches and pitcher pump wells. A permit from the St. Johns Water Management District is required.
Fish Hawk Pond Group Campsite
Hatbill Point Group Campsite
Seminle Ranch also has two primitive campsites. One is located only a few hundred yards down the trail from the Hatbill Road parking area. It is equipped with a fire ring and couple of benches. No reservation or permit required.
David's Cabbage Palm Campsite
The other campsite is for backpackers only. It is located along the Florida National Scenic Trail about a half-mile north of SR-50 near Fish Hawk Pond. The site has a fire ring and a covered picnic table. No reservation or permit required.
Fish Hawk Pond Backpacker's Campsite
At one time Seminole Ranch had a third primitive campsite known as the Tim Bob's Prairie View. It was located near Loughman Lake along the access trail for the observation tower. Flood waters from the St. Johns River pretty much destroyed it. The picnic tables are all gone. The only thing left is the sign and a rusted out fire ring.
Tim Bob's Prairie View
Fishing is available along the St. Johns River as long as you have a Florida freshwater fishing license. Boat ramps can be found at the end of Hatbill Road and along State Road 50 and State Road 46. Shown below are some of the inclement weather shelters located along the river.
Hatbill Landing located between Baxter Point and Hatbill Park
Bear Bluff located about 0.65 miles south of Hatbill Park
Nathan's Mound located on the south shore of Lake Cone
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.
Wheeler Road Entrance and Checkstation
Hunting Schedule 2013 - 2014 Archery Oct. 4 - 6, 11 - 13 Muzzle Gun Oct. 25 - 27, Nov. 1 - 3 General Gun Nov. 15 - 17 Small Game Nov. 23 - 24, 30 - Dec. 1, 7 - 8, Jan. 4 - 5 Wild Hog - Dog Jan. 25 - 31 Spring Turkey Mar. 15 - 17, 21 - 23, 28 - 30
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Last updated on 18-Nov-2013.