This is Hike #4 in the book 50 Hikes in Central Florida, completed on March 10, 2019.
After a short drive from Flat Island Preserve, I reached the Trout Lake Nature Center. I wanted to hike this park and still have time to visit the Environmental Education Center before it closed at 4:00pm. The recommended route was only 1.4 miles. I signed in at the Center.
Not long after setting off from the trailhead on Lazy Oak Trail, I arrived at the Bobcat Walk, the first of several wooden walkways during the day. This part can sometimes be flooded, but at the time I was there it was very dry.
Like the earlier hike, this loop trail had a side trail, a large boardwalk that ended at Trout Lake. From the boardwalk you could observe bees pollinating colorful flowers in purple (see photo, at top), yellow, and white cotton-like shoots. The end of the boardwalk had a covered deck extending over the lake. From the lakeside deck I watched a cormorant swallow a fish, then dive underwater several times in search for more.
From the boardwalk I turned right to continue the loop on Armadillo Trail which passed behind the Environmental Education Center. At the Adventure Trail there was another walkway, this one with a swinging bridge over a muddy stream. After a few up-and-down jumps I continued on.
The trail continued on the ground until I reach the final landmark, the Grandfather Oak. The tree was a huge live oak with hanging wind-chimes and a picnic table sitting in its shade.
From the tree I walked to the main road and followed it a short distance before taking one last side trail (Gunkel Trail) off to the right to complete the recommended route.
After my hike I visited the Environmental Education Center. There were a few outdoor and indoor exhibits showing examples of natural wildlife. The building also contained a small library of nature books. After a short visit I made a nice donation and headed out to drive the short distance to my next hike.