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“Florida at its best” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge

Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge
De Leon Springs, FL
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Type: Nature/ Wildlife Areas, Outdoors
Activities: Viewing wildlife
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Attraction details
Owner description: Established as a migratory bird refuge, much of this wildlife refuge is marsh or swamp and is accessible only by boat. In addition to the birds – there are about 215 species detectable – the swamp area holds many kinds of fish and even alligators.
Deland, Florida
20 reviews 20 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Florida at its best”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2014

Lake Woodruff National Wildlife a Refuge is free and a perfect place to hike and see lots of birds, some gators and an occasional animal. We love taking visitors there and seeing their excitement as we come upon bald eagles or even coots. Perfect place for photography and fishing. Stay as long as you like and maybe continue on over to DeLeon Springs Sugar Mill for pancakes.

Visited April 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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7 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Orlando, Florida
Top Contributor
153 reviews 153 reviews
73 attraction reviews
Reviews in 106 cities Reviews in 106 cities
111 helpful votes 111 helpful votes
“Great place to see birds and Florida at its best!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2014

We really enjoyed hiking around Pool 1. The path is hard packed and accessible. We did see two people using electric scooters on the path. Our goal was to see wildlife and we did! We saw lots of birds (eagles, anhingas, moorhens, coots, vultures, egrets, herons, sandhill cranes..including one sitting on a nest). We also saw a bobcat and a large alligator. :) The observation deck was nice and gave you a great view of the area. Lots of benches along the path. I'd rate the hike as easy...flat, level, hard packed ground. Saw lots of people fishing...didn't know until after we arrived that fishing was permitted. It was really a neat place to enjoy wild Florida and bonus....it's FREE! The visitor's center was okay (but if you don't know how wetlands work or about alligators, you may find it more interesting). Staff was very friendly. There are two parking areas with hiking trails. We chose to park in the lot near the pools and hike. FYI...there is a handicap accessible path near parking lot 2, but honestly I think most electric scooters/wheelchairs would be fine on the regular paths unless there has been a lot of recent rain. We will be back!

Visited March 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
32 attraction reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
“Great Place for a hike !”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2014

There are three looping trails in the main refuge area, ranging from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 miles in length. It's a fairly easy trail to walk on, almost like a dirt road. Depending on the time of year, you will see many different birds and animals. This past trip we saw a family of 5 otters running and playing on the trail, just picture a pile of puppies playing ! Alligators, turtles, sandhill cranes, egrets, herons are some of the things you will see. At the first parking area, there is an eagles nest not far from the lot and if your lucky, you might even see a baby or two at the nest. If you've never been her before, stop at the visitors center and the people there will tell you all about the place.

Visited February 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eustis, Florida
Top Contributor
115 reviews 115 reviews
31 attraction reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
88 helpful votes 88 helpful votes
“A Pleasant Nature Walk for Free”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2013

I went to this refuge as part of a small group and we had a tour guide from the refuge. I recommend that as they can point out small sights and sounds you might miss otherwise. (Animal tracks, bird calls, plants, nesting birds, and more.) However, if you aren't able to take part in a guided walk, it is well worth the time to go on your own.

We were told that you can see a lot more of the refuge in a boat, as many many acres are only accessible that way. You can also walk for an hour or so, as we did on a smaller loop, or twice that or more walking a larger loop.

Let's see; what did I see on my short hike? Two alligators, Great Blue and White Herons, including a Great Blue Heron nest (Bring binoculars!), an otter that came out of the water briefly, and a few other water birds I won't list out here. Not too shabby for a short hike.

There is also a Visitor's Center. I checked out the little gift shop there. The t-shirts were attractive and a fair price. But I confess I wasn't there long enough to determine if there were videos or other programs running in the building. I will check that out another time.

Here is some information from their website about the visitor center's hours as it changes during the warmer months:

"From November to March, the Visitor Center is open from 8:00 AM until 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, the Visitor Center is open from 10:00 AM until 4:30 PM.

From April through October, the Visitor Center is typically open from 8 AM until 4:00 PM during the week. It is closed on weekends. Maps, brochures and other informational materials can be found in the kiosk located near the entrance to the parking lot."

There is also a bike trail out on the road leading in to the refuge. It isn't all complete yet, but I plan to ride the stretch near the refuge that is finished, and than park the bike at the refuge and walk around. That should fill several hours nicely.

Finally, you won't see any trash cans here - it is strictly carry in, carry out. And you can't bring anything you find out of there with you, so don't let the kids get attached to a pretty feather or anything like that. Pictures and memories are quite enough to take away with you!

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Central FL
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Nice hidden gem”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2013

It doesn't appear many people know about this place. I'm not a big bird person but I enjoy the area. It's nature at her best. Beautiful area to walk. You get to see alligators, turtles, and plenty of bird species. The fact that it's free and open to the public is a bonus.

Visited October 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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