Lake Hiawatha Preserve provides fun for the whole family in a 220-acre natural space representing a pristine gem in the rolling hills of south Lake County near Clermont.
Visitors can find two dog parks, pavilions, charcoal grills and trails in a shaded setting west of the 12.5-mile South Lake Trail, which takes runners and cyclists from Oakland to Groveland. Just across the street is Lake Minneola, which can be viewed from a pier near the preserve.
A multilevel playground complete with a working water tower awaits young visitors at Lake Hiawatha Preserve. The area, geared toward children 12 and younger, also has swings, a seesaw and a slide.
Unpaved trails take walkers and joggers around the preserve, with some sections offering glimpses of Lake Hiawatha. Squirrels and blue jays are commonly seen while meandering around the green space.
Trail users may notice a number of baskets with chains on them as they wander the natural space. These are used for disc golf.
The Champions Pointe Disc Golf Course ranks among the top 100 courses in the world, according to UDisc.com. Those hitting the links will find red and yellow baskets at each hole plus multiple tees for varying hole lengths.
The red course is more suitable for beginners. The course offers a playful way to see most corners of the preserve, is an inexpensive activity to try and fun for all ages.
Whether it’s a full day of picnicking and playing at the preserve or a quick stop for water and restrooms on a bike ride, Lake Hiawatha Preserve has something to offer all outdoor enthusiasts.
Location: 450 12th St. in Clermont
Hours: Sunrise to sunset daily
Amenities: Playground, pavilions, picnic tables, dog parks, trails, charcoal grills, water fountain, restrooms, trash cans
Activities: Walking, jogging, disc golf, cycling, wildlife viewing, picnicking
Accessibility: Those using wheelchairs and powered scooters can access select areas of Lake Hiawatha Preserve. Some paved sidewalks are near the parking lot, while other unpaved trails should be flat enough for mobility aids.
What to bring: Bring a starter disc golf set to take advantage of the park’s offerings. Alternatively, enjoy a book under the shade of trees or the pavilion.
What not to bring: Alcohol and illegal drugs are prohibited within Clermont’s parks. Loud music, fires and littering are also not allowed.
Pets: Pets are welcome in most areas of the preserve, especially the dog parks. One is meant for dogs under 25 pounds; the other is designed for large dogs. Pets are not allowed in the playground area.
Pro tips: Water fountains and restrooms, plus shaded benches, make the preserve a nice stop for cyclists and joggers on the South Lake Trail. Disc golf sets can be purchased from most sporting goods stores or from DeBary’s Disc Golf Center, which has an extensive selection online and in-store.
More information: 352-394-3500 or clermontfl.gov