Experience Colt Creek State Park

There is no shortage when it comes to exploring new Florida State Parks. Colt Creek State Park is a great place to visit if you enjoy camping, hiking, or kayaking. With over 5,000 acres to explore there is sure to be something for everyone.

A woman in an open, grassy field with her dog

Colt Creek State Park – The Basics

Colt Creek State Park became the 160th Florida State Park in May of 2006 after the land was purchased from the Overstreet family. The land is important to protect because the water that flows out of the area eventually makes its way to four of Florida’s major rivers, Withlacoochee, Hillsborough, Peace, and Ocklawaha.

  • Address: 16000 State Road 471 Lakeland, Florida 33809
  • Driving distance from select Florida cities:
    • Tampa: 50 minutes
    • Orlando: 1 hour 10 minutes
    • St. Petersburg: 1 hour 15 minutes
    • Jacksonville: 3 hours
    • Miami: 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Hours: 8 AM to 7 PM
  • Entrance fee: $4 per vehicle
  • Activities: Bicycling, birding, camping, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking/canoeing, and picnic pavilions
  • Pet friendly: Must always be kept on a 6-foot leach
    • Pets are not allowed in restrooms, pavilions, lakes, or primitive campsites
Colt Creek State Park entrance sign

Hiking

There are over 12 miles of trails throughout the park that includes pine flatwoods, cypress domes, and hardwood hammocks. Various animals can be spotted throughout the park including alligators, otters, deer, bobcat, fox squirrels, bald eagles, and other various species of birds.

The Mac Lake Nature Trail is a 0.25-mile interpretive trail next to Mac Lake which includes informational signs about various plants along the trail.

Mac Lake Nature Trail sign

Additional trails are listed below:

  • Spur/Cross Trail: Interconnects with orange trail in areas
  • Orange Trail: 7.3 miles (loop)
  • Yellow Trail: 5.5 miles (loop)

Most of the hiking trails are multi-use and can also be accessed by mountain bikers and horseback riders.

Mac Lake Nature Trail at Colt Creek State Park

Kayaking

Another way to enjoy the park is in the water. If you have your own kayak or canoe, you can launch at Mac Lake, but if you do not you can rent from the ranger’s station. The rates are very affordable and might be a good spot if you do not have a lot of paddling experience since there would not be any boat traffic and navigation should not be a concern. However, there can be alligators in the water so you will want to keep that in mind if you are not comfortable paddling in water that alligators may occupy.

Kayaks for rent by the lake at Colt Creek State Park

Mac Lake is the largest of the three lakes in Colt Creek and is 26-acres. The rate to rent kayaks or canoes is $8 for the first 2 hours and each additional hour is $3. Rentals must be returned to the ranger’s station one hour prior to sunset. If you have your own kayak, you can also launch at Middle Lake, but it is a smaller lake.

Camping

There are several types of camping available at Colt Creek State Park including primitive, equestrian, and full facility campsites. 

There are 27 full-facility campsites and 6 tent-only campsites. These campsites include hookups and include a dump station and bathhouse. A few of the campsites have concrete level accessibility features, and reservations are required for all campsites. Reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance.

There are two primitive camp sites within the park and reservations are required in advance. The closest site is two miles from the parking area and can be reached by hiking, horseback, or mountain bike. There are no amenities at these campsites. There are 10 sites that can accommodate horse trailers and 8 people may camp per site.

Trees lining the park road at Colt Creek State Park

Other activities at Colt Creek State Park

Camping, hiking, and paddling are among the most popular activities at Colt Creek State Park. Other activities that can be enjoyed including bicycling, horseback riding, fishing, and birding. During a 2007 year-long park surveillance over 150 bird species were identified. Fishing can be enjoyed at any of the three lakes in the park, Mac Lake, Middle Lake, and Little Lake.

If you are planning to spend most of the day at the park, I recommend packing a picnic lunch which can be enjoyed at one of the picnic tables or at one of the picnic pavilions if they are not rented for an event.

Fishing pier at Mac Lake Park

Final Thoughts on Colt Creek State Park

We enjoyed hiking at Colt Creek State Park and walking along the fishing pier by Mac Lake, we even spotted an alligator from the pier. Our favorite trail was the Mac Lake Nature Trail even though it was short it was scenic. Have you visited Colt Creek State Park or are you planning to visit soon? Let me know in the comments what you are planning to do!

A dog on open grass with a silly, happy look on her face.

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The information above was accurate at the time of publishing to the best of the author’s knowledge. Information will be verified and updated periodically. If you are planning to visit Colt Creek State Park, I recommend verifying the most current information with the Florida State Park website.

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