Lake Jesup Marl Bed Flats

EASY 24 reviews

Lake Jesup Marl Bed Flats is a 0.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Sanford, Florida that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 0.9 miles Elevation Gain: 3 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

camping

fishing

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

muddy

over grown

The Marl Bed Flats Tract of Lake Jesup Conservation Area along the lakes north shore is a delightful place for birding. Expect bald eagles and osprey! The concentration of swamp sunflowers along the lakeshore is especially thick in late summer. The Lake Jesup trails offer a step into Seminole County marsh and a glimpse into inscrutable Florida swamp. It's an opportunity to see the unfamiliar up close, but to be weary of getting too close to the unfamiliar, including the terrain and its inhabitants. The Marl Bed Flats Tract holds one of the unique visions of Florida landscape available in Seminole County. Thick, dark woods with very creepy old oaks line the trails leading to the marsh of the Marl Bed Slough on the edge of Lake Jesup. A foot-wide horse path leads to the edge of the lake, across tall grass and through several areas of pure mud, but dry enough in late-May to navigate on foot. There are acres and acres of land to explore, with a line of palms leading to S.R. 417 toward Orlando visible far off in the distance. The entrance at the parking area of the Marl Bed Flats tract is about as uninviting as possible. It is in an unlikely spot at the end of Oakway Lane, the vegetation overgrown, the area unattractive and it gets worse the first couple hundred yards until the Red Trail (to the left) opens into the marsh area. The Yellow Trail (to the right) is a short circular path to the Red Trail. The Red and Yellow combine to cover 1.3 miles but that does not include the endless acreage of the marsh leading to the lake, which is the main attraction here. Both trails are short, circular links back to the parking lot. This area is crawling with snakes, alligators, giant tortoises, hawks and plenty of other critters, not to mention the heat, vegetation and the danger of torrential downpours. Animal and plant life are protected at the Lake Jesup Conservation Area and the Trail Guide advises to not "kill, trap or molest any mammal, bird, reptile or amphibian," which of course is vital to the success of the project. Most of the animals on the property seem acutely aware of this and take matters into their own hands. The approximately 6,000 acres of preserved land surrounding Lake Jesup is managed by the St. Johns River Water Management District and owned by the District and local municipalities. The properties were acquired for conservation purposes and as part of the Central Florida Beltway Project beginning in 1990.

hiking
bugs
muddy
2 days ago

I travel frequently and love to hike unfamiliar terrain and I also like a little challenge. I rely on the reviews of trails pretty heavily and this one sounded right up my alley based on the reviews in this app. I often hike alone, I’m very aware and I carry a hunting knife for protection. I’ve never had any problems and I’ve hiked almost every state in the US. If you’re a woman hiking alone, do not do this hike. There were some very questionable people doing questionable things in the woods. I’m not easily frightened and pretty much take people as they are, but this trail and these people gave me the creeps. I ended up abandoning the hike (which I have NEVER done) and went back to my car. Later I spoke to some locals who told me never to go there alone. I’m writing this review to warn others and wish some locals had also written a warning in their review. On a lighter note, the flats are really cool and I wish I could have explored them....super buggy and muddy though, wear boots and repellent.

hiking
icy
1 month ago

Beautiful weather hiking today, small section of tall brush, but a mostly clear trail! Not many bugs, but would bring bug spray just in case you’re sensitive to bites

over grown
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

A good trail to take during the rainy season. There are 2 trails yellow and red. Yellow as a smaller and is very well marked. Red dead ends. Looks as though red hasn't been traveled a lot at all when it was dry during the rainy season so that's good.

hiking
5 months ago

Nice mostly shaded, but also overgrown 0.1 mile. Bugs not bad, but recommend repellent.

hiking
8 months ago

Went with my husband and 2 year old daughter who Loves the outdoors. We had fun taking our time and pointing out cool plants and flowers. Along with taking photos of the beautiful oak trees.

hiking
Sat Dec 29 2018

Went off trail and explored the flats. There are so many places to visit here.

hiking
Fri Aug 03 2018

This is one of the best places to view wildlife in Seminole County, and especially in the area around Lake Jesup. Almost 200 species of birds have been recorded in this park, as well as many insects, mammals, and reptiles. The trails are easy to follow in the live oak hammock, but once you get out on the flats, you're pretty much on your own. The official trail is slightly higher in elevation, but I never stay on the trail in the flats. There's almost no point to it. During the rainy season, the flats often flood. In fact they are currently flooded, and it was impossible to walk any part of the flats. The trails in the hammock area are also a bit muddy.

hiking
Sat Jun 10 2017

nice place too take the kids they would like it, also if ya'll love to hike, birdwatch or going scenic walking there's lots of wildlife. also take some water. in the month of may the flowers bloom yellow.

bird watching
Mon Oct 12 2015

I hiked through here on a birding field trip during the Space Coast Birding festival. We went through one area of lovely moss-covered trees and then into a great open clearing. Some of the birds we saw included: Wood Stork, Anhinga, Palm Warbler, both White and Glossy Ibis, Wilson's Snipe, Limpkin, Loggerhead Shrike, a Bald Eagle, and more...

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

hiking
Sun Dec 23 2018

Sat Nov 24 2018

mountain biking
Sat Apr 21 2018

hiking
Sun Apr 08 2018

hiking
Fri Mar 09 2018

hiking
Sun Feb 04 2018

walking
Sun Jun 02 2013