Weeki Wachee Preserve
Weeki Wachee Preserve covers 11,206 acres near the Gulf coast in Hernando County Florida. Part of a regional system of preserves and conservation lands extending from northern Pasco County up to Crystal River, it protects hardwood hammocks and other natural communities ... and is an important habitat for the Florida black bear.

The preserve is bounded on the south by Osowaw Boulevard, on the west by Shoal Line Boulevard, on the east by US highway 19 and to the north by the Weeki Wachee River. The southern area, which is the most frequented by locals, is an area with numerous man-made lakes - the result of limestone mining operations in years past. Nature is reclaiming the area as years go by, and it is becoming a popular destination for hiking, fishing and off-road biking. One of the more interesting features of this area are hills and piles of limestone rock created when the area was mined. One of the highest hills, located just north of the restroom area has a gently inclined path that takes you to the top - where it is possible to look to the west and see the Gulf of Mexico, Around the periphery of this disturbed area, and extending north to the Weeki Wachee River, are vast expanses of forest and wetlands.

The preserve has 5½ miles of marked hiking trails, most of which are suitable for mountain biking. Many additional unmarked trails can be explored in the forested part of the preserve. The entrance road from Osowaw Boulevard is paved, and extends 1½ miles north to a parking area with restroom facilities. However, vehicular traffic is only allowed on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month.  Kayaks, canoes, and other hand-launched boats are allowed on most of the lakes within the preserve, but no boat ramp is available, and no gas-powered engines are allowed. Some lakes are marked as limited access (see trail map) due to active bird roosting.

Swimming is not officially allowed in this preserve since the shores of these lakes can be unstable and the water deep. There are a few picnic table kiosks, but facilities for gatherings or picnics are limited. Be prepared by bringing a blanket. Water is not available in the preserve except at a central location by the restrooms.

In addition to the main entrance to Weeki Wachee Preserve on Osowaw Boulevard, there is an entrance off Shoal Line Boulevard near the community of Hernando Beach. A hard-packed shell road leads south from that entrance to the section of the preserve with all the lakes. Further north along Shoal Line Boulevard, there is also trail access into the northern reaches of Weeki Wachee Preserve from Linda Pederson Park. Hikers who prefer forested trails might enjoy starting from this location.
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