This is Hike #5 in the book 50 Hikes in Central Florida, completed on March 10, 2019.
I had already completed two hikes and arrived at my final park by 3:30pm. Hidden Waters Preserve is a small nature area surrounded by residential neighborhoods. The “hidden waters” is a marshy lake at the bottom of a huge sinkhole. The recommended hike was a 1-mile loop trail encircling the lake. More notable was the 105-foot elevation change from the trailhead down to the water’s edge.
After an accidental turn down a side trail which went out to the boundary of the preserve, I returned to the main trail that plummeted down to the loop trail. Here I turned left to follow the Ravine Trail, climbing up the bank clockwise around the lake.
At the top of the hill the trail approached the boundary of the preserve with houses visible across the street. The book suggested turning right to follow the cascading stream down to the lake. Along the way was a boardwalk overlook looking down into the ravine. At the bottom, the water tumbled and streamed into the lake.
The trail followed the perimeter of the lake with a short side trail that approached the water for some closer views.
After a short break, I continued around the lake. Just before rejoining the main trail to climb back out, there were more clear views of the lake. So I snapped one last photo (see photo, at top) before turning left to make the 105-foot climb up to the trailhead and parking lot.
On the drive back I headed to downtown DeLand and a stop at Persimmon Hollow for a cold lager (maybe two). While there, I perused the 50 Hikes book to find my next hike.