Mills Creek Woodland/Florida Trail

This area of about 470 acres is a great place to spend a little time. Mills Creek crosses through it, thus making this woodland aptly named. Its main claim to fame is that a section of the orange blazed Florida Trail system passes right through it. This is just one of the great aspects of this little gem. Not only is the trail very well maintained by the Central Florida FTA group, but there are many other areas to wander around in and explore. You have many options for accessing the woodland, although none of them allow an actual loop. Regardless of how you enter the area, you will have to double back to your parking spot. Some people use two vehicles, parking one at each end of the Woodland. The “Locals” are very possessive and paranoid, so make sure if you venture off the trail that you do not enter any private property. This is a conservation area, so no hunting is allowed. The day I visited the area I only saw a limited amount of wildlife, but I am told if your quiet and in the area at the right time you can see deer, turkeys, songbirds and other wildlife. The day I visited the woodlands, it was pretty dry. I can imagine during the wet season you might encounter some water. From what I can tell from the signage, this is USDA Forest Service Land. They have opened it up for the Florida Trail to pass through it, so enjoy the trail and surrounding areas. There is no biking allowed in this area, so leave the bike at home!

Florida Trail
A small section of the Florida Trail winds through the Mills Creek Woodland. The orange blazed trail is about 3 miles long here – it actually runs from one side of the woodland to the other. The wonderful thing about it is that you will pass through a number of Florida eco-systems as you walk the trail from one end to the other. From dry sandy sections, to wetlands, to hills and through palmetto “ponds”. You will cross a couple of very picturesque waterways which pass through the woodlands. The trail itself is extremely well maintained by the Central Florida Chapter of the FTA. The local FTA have created a bridge over Mills Creek, as well as elevated sections through the marsh. They also have provided a very nice primitive campsite. There is a small picnic area under a large oak in an open field. What I did I parked at an area provided by the FTA on Lake Mills Road. I found a well marked blue blazed trail to follow through a pasture to the orange blazed Florida Trail. When I hit the orange trail I went left towards Brumley Road. This section of the trail takes you to the main picnic area and then through some low wetlands. The FTA provided a couple of wooden boardwalks over the real wet areas. From there you start an actual climb up a small hill, eventually coming out on Brumley Road. If want to continue on the orange blazed trail, you will have to cross the road. There is a small section where you could park if you so desired. I elected to turn around and head back at that point. I returned to the blue blazed trail I entered on, and continued passed it. In the next section I encountered the primitive campsite, an area with a picnic table and sleeping area memorializing Wiley Dykes Sr. You will find this area just off the main trail, with a blue blazed leading to it. I continued on to the Mills Creek area, where I encountered true wetlands. There are bridges provided to make crossing both Mills Creek and Silcox Branch easy. From there you go up a bit and hit a sandy scrub area. The trail winds through this scrub area for far distance, giving you another view of Florida. You will eventually come to Whispering Forest Trail road. You can park here if you so desire. I then turned around, headed back to the blue blazed trail I came in on and exited back to my car. The total distance was a little over 8 miles. I did find a number of nicely hid GEOCaches along the trail.

Conclusion
The Mills Creek Wetlands is a very nice place to spend some time. The trails and off-roads are very comfortable to walk. There are a number of eco-systems to observe. The variety of wildlife and wildflowers you will encounter depends on what season you visit. You can even do some GEOCaching if you so desire. Make a day trip out of it, bring your lunch and spend some time at one of the two picnic areas provided.

Some GPS Reference Points –
• Mills Road Parking Area – N28 38.170 W81 06.036
• Brumley Road Entrance – N28 39.162 W81 05.815
• Whispering Forest Trail Entrance – N28 37.634 W81 05.543
• Blue Blazed Trail Meets Orange Trail – N28 38.152 W81 05.635
• Main Picnic Area – N28 38.526 W81 05.851
• Primitive Campsite –N28 38.029 W81 05.786
• Mills Creek Bridge – N28 37.976 W81 05.802
• Start/End Boardwalk #1 – N28 38.696 W81 05.688 / N28 38.759 W81 05.727
• Start/End Boardwalk #2 – N28 38.781 W81 05.728 / N28 38.827 W81 05.779

My hike can be viewed/downloaded at Wikiloc –
• Mills Creek Woodland - Click Here

Here are some external Links you might be interested in –
• You can see other pictures of the area at - Mills Creek Woodland - use the “Launch Slideshow” function to loop through them Some Pictures (click to enlarge) -

Parking Area on Lake Mills Road -

Blue Blazed Trail Into Mills Creek Woodland from Lake Mills Road -

Florida Trail Through the Oaks -

Picnic Area Under Large Oak Tree -

Florida Trail Through Palmetto "Pond" -

One of Two Boardwalks Through Wetlands -

Old Road Part of Trail -

Florida Trail Through Scrub Oaks -

Wiley Dykes Sr. Primitive Campsite -

Florida Trail Into Trees -

Sandy Trail -

Sandy Trail Through Palmettos -

Bridge over Silcox Branch -

Bridge over Mills Creek -

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