Hilochee Wildlife Management Area
Hilochee Wildlife Management Area is a little known trail in Polk County that runs east and west along Interstate 4 just east of Lakeland as far as Highway 27 to the east. There are three entrances to the trail. The two trails Telephoto Florida (TPF) explored are on the west side of the trail just south of I-4 at exit 48 and the second is further south and a left turn on Old Polk City Road.
The trails are not noted for birding, but our visit yielded some nice shots of Swallow-tailed Kites drinking “on the wing” on the lake at the south entrance. The wild blackberries were ripening and we picked a few of these delicious berries.
These trails are mostly open sun and run along the tree bank. Not much shade so choose your time of day. We did discover a few delightful meadows full of butterflies and dragonflies.
All in all, TPF would not call this spot a gem, but a nice walk if you are in the area and looking for a peaceful stroll in a secluded spot. And do try the blackberries.