Come enjoy the shoreline of Crooked Lake, the second-largest lake in Polk County. Whether you like to fish, hike or take pictures, Crooked Lake Prairie is a great place to visit. One trail leads to the scenic area overlooking Crooked Lake, and the other loops through the scrubs, where you can search for Florida scrub-jays. But watch out for the native prickly pear cactus, or you might step on one of the gopher tortoises' favorite foods!
This 525-acre property was acquired by Polk County Environmental Lands program in 1997 for the purpose of protecting water, wildlife and wilderness resources. Crooked Lake is designated as an Outstanding Florida Water. The historical lakebed covers 5,538 acres, making Crooked Lake the second-largest lake in Polk County. This property protects more than two miles of the lake's shoreline. For centuries, the only people who fished Crooked Lake were the American Indians. Over the years, archaeologists have found canoes in Crooked Lake that pre-date Columbus' arrival to the New World. Similar canoes are displayed at The Depot Museum in Lake Wales. Upland resources include 130 acres of scrub on the Lake Wales Ridge, a globally imperiled ecosystem. Previous owners used the property to grow a variety of crops, including tomatoes and pineapples, and as grazing land for cattle. At one time, there was a nine-hole golf course on the north part of the property.