L76. Wekiva River Buffer Conservation Area / Sabal Point Sanctuary
SiteID: E76 (new)
Nearest City: Wekiva Springs
Phone Number: 386-329-4404
Features/Amenities: Tours, educational signage and/or nature center, Birding by boat, Birding by foot/hiking, Birding by bicycle, Best time of day: All day, Recommended length of visit: a few hours br>
Habitats: Freshwater Swamp, Freshwater Marsh/Wetlands, Pines, River/Stream/Spring/Canal, Hardwoods/Mixed Forest
With its lush floodplain forest of hardwoods, ferns, and sabal palms, a visit to this property nestled between the Wekiva and Little Wekiva Rivers feels like you’re stepping back in time thousands of years. Follow the 3.5-mile foot and bike trail north and keep your eyes and ears peeled for Barred Owl, Red-shouldered Hawk, and Wild Turkey. This sanctuary is an excellent location to search for songbirds in spring and fall migration, including Veery, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Ovenbird and Northern Waterthrush. The Swallow-tailed Kite likely nests here; Short-tailed Hawk is possible. The Florida Black Bear is present, but rarely seen. For an even wilder experience, paddle either river (launch from Wekiwa Springs State Park, site #75) where Limpkin, Prothonotary Warbler, American Bittern (winter), both night-herons, and White Ibis ply their respective trades. Mosquitoes tend to be unpleasant here – take appropriate measures. This site is accessed through a subdivision with limited parking. Be considerate and do not block driveways; carpool if possible. A map is available at the St. Johns River Water Management District website and in their free guidebook, Recreation Guide to District Lands (a good resource).
Directions: From I-4 northeast of Orlando, take exit 94 for SR 434 and drive west for approx. 1 mi. Turn right (northwest) on Wekiva Springs Rd. and continue for 0.9 mi. to the first stoplight, Sabal Palm Dr. Turn right (northeast) and follow the road for 1.5 mi. to Wilderness Dr. Turn right (north) and go 0.2 mi. to the small parking area and trailhead at the end of the road.
Open all year, dawn to dusk.
Location: 28.711236, -81.410184