Split Oak Forest Mitigation Park: North / Lake and South Loops Professional Review and Guide
"This 1,700-acre forest is adjacent to two very picturesque lakes—Lakes Hart and Mary Jane—and also to a very popular county park, Moss Park. The forest is named for a giant 200-year-old oak tree that was split more than fifty years ago but continues to grow today. The forest is owned jointly by Orange and Osceola Counties. You have two main options for hiking here: the North and South Loop trails.
While both include sections of wooded uplands, the South Loop concentrates on a more marshy environment. The North Loop offers more variety, including a side path traversing the lake-fringe habitats of Lake Hart and Bonnett Pond with overlooks of both. The North Loop also provides a connector trail to adjacent Moss Park, which offers camping and usually a large gathering of sandhill cranes in winter. Some of the wildlife found in Split Oak includes coyotes (rare), alligators, wood storks, red-shouldered hawks, gray foxes, gopher tortoises, and box turtles. Rain occurs frequently in the summer and fall months, but it doesn’t stop serious hikers."