Tibet - Butler Preserve: Palmetto Passage is a 1.1 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Orlando, FL that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from January until January.
These are gentle interpretive walks, perfect for families to get their kids outdoors and listen to the hoot of a barred owl or the cry of an osprey within earshot of the train at the Magic Kingdom. Sadly it's only open part of the week Wed-Sunday. With a big, beautiful nature center and trails that are well-groomed, Tibet-Butler Preserve offers a spot of wilderness in the dense urban mass to the west of Orlando.The trail system loops through many of the major habitats found in this region, including longleaf pine forest and scrub, bayhead swamp and cypress-lined lakeshore.
I attempted a portion of the trail and then turned back. I was forewarned at the Nature Center that this is the lowest area of the park and it is often very muddy and wet from the runoff. That is what I found during my visit. I enjoyed the rest of my experience at the park however.
Extremely sloshy and marshy (it IS a swamp after all!) in a way I wasn't prepared for, this being my first trip to Florida. Many areas were under an inch or so of water and took some creative maneuvering on the part of our group of 4 hikers. I am a plant nerd so I went crazy for the palmetto, sawgrass, and Spanish moss, but I will say that we didn't see any birds, forest / swamp criiters, or gators at all on the hike.
Tibet-Butler Preserve has some very scenic hiking, but it's not for total beginners or people out for a casual stroll. The largest loop starts out in typical Florida scrub. Deer moss, sugar sand, and even some evidence of tortoises if you keep your eyes peeled.
As the trail turns east it dips into lower elevation and cypress swamp area. Make sure you're wearing good shoes. There is good tree cover so even though it was hot out when I went, it wasn't so bad. It took me about two hours to hike the full trail system.
There is now a nature center and animal rehab area, great for kids.
I have been out to Tibet-Butler Preserve a handful of times and it has been closed about half the time. I'd say it's a good idea to call ahead for this trip.
Currently this trail is closed. I'm dying to walk it though....
I've been to this trail 3 times in 3 seasons, sighted owls, woodpeckers, and many other nice birds, it takes me about 1 and a half hours to walk around its biggest loop with a short break, some parts are very muddy, you will not enjoy this trip with sandals! They also have shorter trails that the whole family can enjoy, I would recommend this to anyone not looking for a challenge, but rather a nice walk