|Lower Wekiva River
State Preserve is comprised of almost 18,000 acres of
environmentally significant land bordering six miles of the
St. Johns River and the lower four miles of the Wekiva River
and Black Water Creek. Almost 5,000 acres of the preserve was
purchased by the state of Florida in 1976 to protect portions
of the Lower Wekiva River while allowing recreational use.
Additional purchases in 1994 and 1995 have formed a wildlife
corridor along the Wekiva and St. Johns Rivers connecting to
the Ocala National Forest.
The preserve has a variety of plant
communities that maintain a high species diversity and biological richness. They range
from the high, dry sandhills and sandpine scrub to river swamp. The unique natural feature
of the preserve is the system of blackwater streams and their associated wetlands which
provide superb habitat for a variety of rare and endangered animals. The Florida black
bear, river otter, American alligator, wood stork, sandhill crane, indigo snake and a
variety of more common native species may be observed while canoeing through or hiking in
Native American Indians also valued the abundance of wildlife. They lived here
before the arrival of the Spanish in 1513. Many mounds are located along the Wekiva River.
The mounds or kitchen middens are the only visible remains of the
Indians former presence on the preserve and are protected for future archaeological
The self-guided Sandhill Nature Trail offers a leisurely 50-minute walk.
There are three (3) backpacking campsites at Lower Wekiva River State
Preserve that accessible off of SR 44. Each site has a maximum occupancy of ten (10)
people. Fees are $3.00 plus tax for each adult and $2.00 plus tax for children under 18.
Children under 6 are free. Reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance. To make
reservations you must send a check or money order to Wekiwa Springs State Park or stop by
the park and pay in person no later than 5 to 7 days in advance of your reservations. When
calling to make reservations we need an accurate count, we are not responsible for
overpayment. At least one member of the camping party must be 18 years of age. Limited
restroom facilities are available. No potable water is available. Pack in all water, food,
and firewood, and pack out all trash. Fires are allowed only within the provided ground
grills. Fire may be prohibited during hazardous conditions. Tents must be pitched in
designated campsites only. The collection of firewood is prohibited.
Horse primitive camping is available only at Lower Wekiva River State Preserve located
off SR 44. The horse corral will hold up to 15 horses. This number is the maximum unless
special arrangements have been made in advance with park management. All rules are the
same as backpacking rules for this site. The collection of firewood is prohibited. Proof
of negative Coggins test is required for all horses. Horses must stay on designated
trails. Fees are $3.00 plus tax for each adult and $2.00 plus tax for children under 18,
per night. Children under 6 are free. Horses are $5.00 per night plus tax. If you have any
questions or need to make reservations please call 407/884-2008.
For more information, contact:
Lower Wekiva River
c/o Wekiwa Springs State Park
1800 Wekiwa Circle
Apopka, FL 32712