Salt Lake - Things to Do
Paddle the lakes or explore a network of roads and trails and find opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, photography, hiking and bicycling.
Hunting of white-tailed deer and hogs takes place in the fall and winter, with turkey hunting in the spring. The feral hog and turkey populations are excellent, and the deer population is fair. All hunts, except small game hunts, on Salt Lake are quota hunts. Appropriate licenses and permits are required. Check the regulations summary brochure and hunt calendar before you visit.
If you see a sick or abnormally thin deer or deer dead of unknown causes, please report its location to the CWD hotline, (866) CWD-WATCH (293-9282).
Portions of Salt Lake, South Lake and Loughman Lake lie within the WMA’s boundaries and create numerous fishing opportunities. South Lake can be accessed through nearby boat ramps outside of the WMA or through Fox Lake, located in nearby Fox Lake Park. Salt Lake may be accessed from a boat ramp on S.R. 46 or at the terminus of Paces Landing Road. Shad Creek connects Salt Lake and Loughman Lake. Note that Shad Creek may be very shallow or completely dry during dry periods. Appropriate licenses and permits are required.
Look for turkeys along the mowed power lines. Wading birds, American coot, purple gallinule, common moorhen, osprey and alligator are abundant on the floodplain marshes adjacent to the lakes. Feral hogs are often spotted rooting along the roadways and in the moist woodlands. To more readily access scrub habitats and a viewing platform on the northwest side of South Lake, use the walk-in entrance off of Dairy Road. Visit the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail and our Wildlife page for more details.
Hiking and Biking
A 3.5 mile white-blazed loop trail starts at the main entrance, loops east of the power lines, and winds back to the entrance. The trail passes through mesic flatwoods, scrubby flatwoods and oak scrub. Another trail travels 0.6 miles south from the parking area along Dairy Road to an overlook over South Lake. A variety of bird species, and possibly alligators, may be seen from the overlook. Benches and picnic tables can be found along the way. Return to the parking area the way you came. Depending on current weather conditions, the trails could be seasonally flooded in the mesic flatwoods and/or soft and sandy in the scrubby sections during dry conditions.
Bicycling is permitted only on named or numbered trails and roads; the best bicycling is on improved roads.
Equestrians will find horse trailer parking at the main entrance off Arch Road and can explore named or numbered trails and roads. Horses are prohibited during hunting seasons, except small game season. No water other than natural ponds is available for horses.
Paddling opportunities are available on South Lake, Salt Lake and Loughman Lake. Access to South Lake is through Fox Lake, located in nearby Fox Lake Park. Launch boats on Salt Lake from a boat ramp on S.R. 46 or at the terminus of Paces Landing Road and Salt Lake. Paddlers may travel from Salt Lake through Shad Creek to Loughman Lake. From Loughman Lake, it is possible to paddle through Snake Creek to tiny Clark and Ruth lakes and then to the St. Johns River. Note, however, that connections between lakes may be very shallow or dry during winter and spring.