Circle B Bar Reserve, Lakeland

4.9
Must see · Wildlife Area · Nature / Park
The Circle B Bar Reserve is an area of protected lands in Polk County, Florida. Comprising 1,267 acres (5.13 km2) at 4399 Winter Lake Road (SR 540) near Lakeland, Florida, the area is managed by the Polk County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). It is jointly owned by the BOCC and the Southwest Florida Water Management District. The park was purchased in 2000 for $7.4 million using funds provided by an environmental lands acquisition referendum approved by voters in 1994.
Polk's Nature Discovery Center, completed in 2008, features interactive displays about the plants, animals, and ecosystems of the reserve. The center serves as the focus of environmental education programs and explorations for families, school groups, teachers, adults, and other visitors. Construction began in 2007, consisting of four buildings totalling 16,000 square feet at a cost of $6.4 million.
Circle B Bar Reserve is named after the cattle ranch that once occupied the site. It was purchased to help maintain the Banana Creek marsh area. The preserve is home to an impressive array of birds such as white ibis, roseate spoonbills, sandhill cranes, and bald eagles along with other wildlife like alligators, bobcats, snakes, gray squirrels, river otters, and wild hogs. It underwent a wetland restoration effort.
The preserve has been designated as a Great Florida Birding Trail site, a program of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Sites are selected for their excellent birdwatching, wildlife viewing, or educational opportunities. Circle B Bar contains 3.5 miles (5.6 km)s of unpaved hiking/biking trails and is connected to the paved Fort Fraser Trail by the 0.6-mile paved Fort Fraser-Circle B Bar Connector Trail, which runs from Lakeland to Bartow.
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Circle B Bar Reserve reviews

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Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • Well maintained trails in diverse habitats - forest, lakeside, marsh. Visited on a very windy day and still saw many herons, egrets, anhinghas, mudhens and osprey. Classic central Florida - many...  more »
  • We frequently come here to walk in nature. It is a magical place. It is never dull and wildlife is all around you. We have had a racoon walk towards us on the path by Lake Hancock. A great blue heron....  more »
Google
  • If you are in rural Lakeland and enjoy nature, you MUST go visit here. They have so much wildlife and birds here. The trails are great and it is quiet and pretty and natural. I've spent hours here at a time and just love it. Many times I have hiked 6 or 7 miles and loved every minute. It is also FREE which is great.
  • Good variety of walking trails with shade along most of them. This is a popular place. Visiting earlier in the day is recommended to avoid more people.
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