Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lake Lotus Park

Hiking and fishing on the boardwalk along Lake Lotus
Lake Lotus Park is a 100 acre city park in Altamonte Springs, Florida.  Lake Lotus is fed by the Little Wekiva River as it flows out of neighborhoods and industrial areas and follows along the east side of the park.  The river continues it's flow in a northerly direction past Lake Lotus to reach the main Wekiva River before it reaches the north flowing St. Johns River.  The city of Altamonte Springs bought this piece of land in the southwest corner of the city in 1972 and developed and opened the park in 1995.  This park is perfect for individuals or families looking to de-stress for the day.
Roots are plentiful as are cypress knees
The best thing is the park is peaceful and very beautiful, and has fine trails built over five of Florida's ecosystems.  Here you stroll through the Sandhill, Pine Scrub, Mesic (between wet and dry) Hammock, Floodplain Wetlands and Lake Lotus communities, mostly on a well built raised boardwalk trail.  There is a fishing area and a covered window hut for bird and viewing wildlife further along the lake; shaded benches and sunny boardwalk along the Mesic Hammock and Floodplains Wetlands; and a dry wood chip highland trail in the Sandhill and Pine Scrub communities.
Across the lake are apartments and you can see parts of some homes to the north and west of the lake.  The highway noise is low, despite Maitland Boulevard passing adjacent to the park.  Birds were everywhere, from small jays, egrets and ducks to hawks, as were lizards, squirrels and signs of turtles and raccoons.  There are covered picnic tables with grills, restrooms, playgrounds and the quiet walks through nature.   The lake has floating lotus plants just past the Little Wekiva River outlet and around the north side of the boardwalk.  The hiking trail starts to the east of the central picnic area, and continues about a mile and a half as you walk in a counter-clockwise direction, returning you to where you began.  Shorter cross trails connect you back to the park center.
The walk around the outside of the boardwalk took less than an hour, but it was a peaceful hour.  While it was a little warm for winter, there were few bugs.  (I noticed bat houses located throughout the park.)  And there were no crowds for a Sunday afternoon.  A billboard shows photos of local dragon flies and butterflies.  You could easily spend a few hours here decompressing.
Mesic Hammock, benches are just around the corner
The park is used as an outdoor education center with interpretive programs offered throughout the year and Lake Lotus Park is staffed with trained park rangers.  Parking is across Maitland Boulevard just off Magnolia Homes road with a free tram ride over to the park on the weekends.  Entrance is free daily, they are closed Wednesdays.  Check out Sandra Friends trail description and park pictures on Florida Hikes!
To find Lake Lotus Park, take the Maitland Boulevard exit on I-4, just north of Orlando, go west 3 miles, after passing over highway 434, turn left onto Magnolia Homes Road, and left into the parking area.


  1. My daughter's family lives nearby. I should take my grandson there.

  2. Please do go. Your grandson would like the playground and you would get some peace also. Enjoy!