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Black Bear Wilderness Area

Birding / Hiking / Adventuring Roadtrip Info

Andrew Thoreson
Feb 2018
 Typical view [?]
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Typical View (15)

Snapshots! (6)
GRADES: Click each for info, * = Note
How Big Not Rated
Importance Not Rated
Revisit? A
Birding C
Wildlife B
Summer Heat B
Terrain D
Fun Hike B
Maintained B
Mosquitos C
Biting Files B
Ticks B
 LOCATION: Accuracy: Read me
Map On Big Map: Click map (or on google maps). Address: 5298 Michigan Ave, Sanford, FL, Seminole, USA, 32771

1) What It's Like

Black Bear Wilderness Area: you can take a trail straight out to the St.John's River or you can take the much longer loop around that the short trail crosses through the middle of. We only did the short one. It consists of a shady, walkable trail along a pond/canal that leads to the St. John's River. It's impossible to get lost; there's a single path that goes straight to the river, at which point you can continue walking along the river for up to seven miles or turn around. The first section of the trail is a boardwalk and a trail, and then later turns into a loop. Most people do the first part.

It connects to a larger wildlife corridor and this is in the higher population density area for bears - though it is unlikely you'll actually see them. We didn't see bears or their tracks but we did see deer, and there's definitely a sense of being in an area that wildlife would visit more than many other parks that don't start out in a residential neighborhood.

2) Kinds of Birds

Along the trail, we saw herons, anhingas, and a limpkin. In the parking lot as we were getting ready to leave, we were visited by a swallow tailed kite in the air.

In general, you can expect to see different kinds of water birds, woodpeckers, haws, and general forest birds like cardinals, wrens and gnatcatchers.

3) Wildlife

Black bears have been spotted, even though we didn't see any. We did see deer in the distance. There were a few shapes that could have been any type of wildlife; they ran off before we could identify them.

4) Amenities

There was a sign and a map in the parking lot. No restrooms, etc. Just the parking lot and trail head. Gas stations close enough however.

5) Directions

This is on the edge of a residential neighborhood in Volusia County.

6) Dear Ranger

Great job - fun place to visit and there was no way to get lost.

7) Time Requirements

Walking to the river and back is a nice hike and can be done in about two hours (with stops to look at birds, wildlife, etc). Or, you can walk the entire loop and spend a good part of the day at this park.


It's in proximity to and more or less connected to Seminole State Forest, Rock Springs Run / Weikwa State Park, Wekiva, Hontoon Island, Blue Springs State Park, Lake Monroe, etc. It just feels like you're in the woods. And being up on that raised trail you feel like you get a commanding view as you go and feel like you're in the jungle as you climb through all the cabbage palms. Several times out here we've heard what sounds like sizable wildlife and seen big birds fly off suddenly. When you reach the river it continues on to being another kind of impressive view (though the boat traffic detracts a bit).

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