North Walk-in-Water Creek
Come enjoy bank fishing on the shore of a small pond on this pristine wetland reserve, which covers more than 1,100 acres. A short scenic trail loops by the enchanting Walk-in-Water Creek through an old oak hammock where you may see turkeys and deer, and possibly a scrambling Sherman's fox squirrel. The year-round flowing creek is also a favorite among paddlers.
This 1,113-acre site was named for the blackwater, or "tea-colored," creek that flows through the property, connecting Lake Walk-in-Water (Lake Weohyakapka) with Lake Rosalie. The Polk County Environmental Lands program acquired this land in four phases starting in 2001. The main goal for this site is the protection of the floodplain and blackwater stream.
Although much of the site is wet most of the year, hiking is popular on the higher, drier ground starting at the walkthrough gate along the north side of the old Highway 60 roadbed. The marked hiking trail is shaded and easy to navigate. The trail leads to an oak hammock ideal for resting and observing a wide variety of birds.
This is a popular place to view many types of wildlife, from the well-known alligator to the less common wading birds such as the limpkin. You might even see a frisky otter.
Bank fishing is permitted around a small man-made pond near the site entrance. A state fishing license is required.
A county boat ramp on the south end of Lake Rosalie provides an opportunity for launching canoes and kayaks and paddling into Walk-in-Water Creek. There are no structures along the northern half of the creek, and the natural state of the creek provides a wild experience for the paddler.
Picnic tables can be found sitting under the shade of a large oak tree near the entrance.
No restrooms are currently available.
Grassy parking area is available.
Hammock Hideaway — (1 mile, Easy, Shaded)
This trail leads around a borrow pit, passes a small depression marsh while skirting the pine flatwoods, before looping in the refuge of the shady hammock. The trail turns back to the parking area at a small bench providing visitors with a resting spot to enjoy nature sounds. This trail may seasonally be very wet and sometimes completely flooded.
As you enter the property, you'll see large oaks with branches full of Spanish moss and resurrection ferns. The size of the oaks and the deep green of the resurrection fern after a rain often overshadow the value of this habitat to wildlife. The hammock provides shade and shelter to wildlife during the heat of the day, from insects to cavity nesters such as the great horned owl. It also provides excellent roosting areas for wild turkey.
Roughly half of the property is composed of the floodplain swamp that flanks both sides of the creek. The floodplain swamp is dominated by a variety of trees such as red maple, laurel oak, sweetbay, Carolina ash and swamp tupelo. Small patches of rare cutthroat grass can also be found on the property.
In the wet areas, look for alligators, otters and water fowl, including limpkins, as well as a variety of birds such as pileated woodpeckers, osprey, Sherman's fox squirrel, wild turkey, deer. You might even see a Florida panther. The eastern indigo snake also makes its home on this site.
This land management area consists of pine flatwood and floodplain swamp. Pine flatwood is characterized by longleaf pine, Pinus palustris in central Florida or slash pine, Pinus elliottii in south Florida and an understory predominantly of saw palmetto, Serenoa repens. The pines are shade intolerant and require fire to maintain the system. Pine flatwoods also have a hardpan 8 to 10 feet below the surface. The floodplain swamp is dominated by a hardwood forest. Some of the trees are black gum, Nyssa sylvatica, coastal plain willow, Salix caroliniana and titi, Cyrilla racemiflora.
North Walk-in-Water Creek is located east of Lake Wales.
From Lake Wales:
Head east on State Road 60 for approximately 9 miles. The site entrance is on the north side of State Road 60 just before Walk-in-Water Creek.
11695 SR 60
Lake Wales, FL 33898
Hours of Operation
6 a.m. — 6:30 p.m. (Standard Time)
5:30 a.m. — 8 p.m. (Daylight Savings Time)