One of Florida´s oldest parks, Highlands Hammock State Park opened to the public in 1931. Although much of the landscape remains the same, there are now many things for exercise enthusiasts to do.
There are nine different trails for hiking. Be sure to look for alligators as you stroll along the elevated boardwalk over Charlie Bowlegs Creek. This will be the best place to see them.
There is an 8-mile round trip bike path through Highlands Hammock State Park. For bike riders who may not be able to go that distance, there is a shorter 3-mile loop path, as well as a six-mile trail for off-road enthusiasts. Some bikes are available for rent at the ranger station.
Skaters can also take advantage of the 3-mile loop path; however, they should beware of debris on the roadway (such as sticks or hickory nuts) which might cause them to stumble.
If you have your own horse, you might be interested in the 11 miles of fire lane trails that meander through remote natural areas. These trails are for day use only. The daily equestrian fee is $6.00 and you need to make sure to take a negative "Coggins" report with you. Camping with your horses is also permitted.
For those who enjoy the tranquil sport of bird watching, the park is one of the best places in Highlands County to do it. Be sure to get the bird checklist which is available at the ranger station.
For campers, the park's campground offers water and electric hookups, a dump station and access to restrooms with shower facilities. There are also primitive campsites that have no electric or running water and pit toilets.
However you make your way through the park beneath the tall pine trees and massive old oaks, watch for white-tailed deer, alligators, river otters, opossums, raccoons, Florida scrub-jays, cardinals, cedar waxwings and any other wildlife you may pass.
Admission into the park costs $4.00 per vehicle for up to 8 people or $3.00 for a single occupant in a vehicle.