Aripeka Sandhills Preserve is a disconnected tract in the larger Weeki Wachee
Preserve. It was purchased originally by the Pasco County Environmental Lands
Division, and then sold to the Southwest Florida Water Management District. The
preserve. covering an area of 209 acres, protects hardwood swamp and pine
sandhill natural communities.
With exception of a parking area along the side of Aripeka Road and a small
information kiosk, there are no improvements at this preserve. Trails totaling
about 1.6 miles are unmarked, but relatively easy to follow. Off-road bicycling
on the trails is permitted. The trails are mostly dirt, shell, or grass covered,
but can be muddy at times during the rainy season. This can be a nice preserve
for bird watching, finding wildflowers - or just to have a quiet hike. Very few
people visit due to the lack of recreational facilities or features.
Near the entrance there is a small lake partially surrounded by rocky hills and
ledges - quite obviously a man made borrow pit or phosphate excavation from long
ago. Time is slowly returning the area to a more natural condition. Fishing is
permitted. The preserve has a pass-through for pedestrians and bicyclists, and
is open from dawn until dusk.