Lake June-in-Winter Scrub Preserve State Park is a quiet 845-acre preserve that provides protection for sand scrub, "Florida's desert," one of the state's most endangered natural communities.
Some of Florida's rarest and most imperiled plant and animal species, including the Florida scrub-jay, Florida scrub lizard, Florida mouse, gopher tortoise and the Eastern indigo snake are found here. Ospreys and bald eagles are frequently sighted along the three miles of lakefront, and white-tailed deer, bobcat and black bear are occasionally seen. Acreage consists primarily of scrub, scrubby flatwoods and bayhead. This relatively new park is best suited for those seeking a remote wilderness experience, bird watching and nature study.
Amenities are few, but the natural experience is exceptional. Visitors can hike along the white sugar sand firelanes, walk a half-mile nature trail, fish from the lake shore or launch a lightweight canoe or kayak onto the lake. A picnic area has a shelter with tables, but no grill.
The park is located on the west side of Lake June-in-Winter. It is just a ten minute drive west from the town of Lake Placid and approximately 30 minutes from Highlands Hammock State Park. It is approximately twelve miles south of Sebring off U.S. Highway 27. Travel U.S. 27 to County Road 621, turn west and drive approximately four miles to Daffodil Road. Continue driving south on Daffodil for approximately two miles to the park entrance.
Lake June-in-Winter Scrub State Park is a destination in the East Section of the Great Florida Birding Trail. The park has six distinct natural communities in its 845 acres which provide a diversity of habitat for the Florida scrub-jay, the Southern bald eagle, red-shouldered hawk, owls and other raptors. Songbirds, migratory birds, wading birds, and ducks are found here, too. 0ver 100 species of birds have been identified on the trails in these peaceful woods. Scrub, scrubby flatwoods and a small area of mesic flatwoods comprise the upland habitats. Wetlands include baygall, seepage slope and seepage stream. Lake June-in-Winter, a large 3,500 acre spring-fed lake provides freshwater habitat. The shallow shoreline is below the picnic area on the far eastern edge of the park. Red-shouldered hawks and osprey are common. Pileated woodpeckers may be spotted. Herons, ibis, egrets and other wading birds feed in the shallow waters along the shoreline. Ducks may also be observed on the lake. Warblers, such as the Northern parula warbler, winter here. For scrub and flatwoods species, birders may walk along the entrance road, around the picnic area, and down the sugar sand trails and firelanes into scrub habitat.
The Florida scrub-jay, Florida’s only endemic bird, is supported by over 500 acres of scrub. Currently, there are approximately nine scrub-jay family groups and 45 individuals in residence at Lake June. Birders may notice that some birds are banded. Lake June is a part of an ecosystem-wide monitoring program throughout the state to ensure that this highly endangered species will continue to thrive in the future. Walking down a sugar sand trail or a firelane can be difficult, and birders should be aware that the trails in this harsh, sandy environment can be very hot. Visitors are advised to wear a hat, sunblock and sturdy footwear suitable for hiking. Bring water, a friend, compass or a cell phone on longer hikes. Scrub communities are rare due to their presence on narrow geographic ranges, their small population sizes and because they support certain endemic species which are unable to survive anywhere else. As you walk, please stay on the trail to help protect rare and endangered plant species. Your interest and assistance in protecting these “ancient seashores,” is greatly appreciated. Visitors may also walk the brief, but challenging Tomoka Run Trail which provides cool shade along a gurgling stream. The trail runs through pine flatwoods, scrub, and the edge of a bayhead. For more information, call the Ranger Station at 863-386-6094.
Lake June-in-Winter, a 3,500-acre spring-fed freshwater lake, provides excellent recreational opportunities. Anglers can enjoy fishing, while boaters have easy access from several public boat ramps located on various sections of the shoreline outside the park. There is currently no boat/canoe launch in the park, but lightweight canoes or kayaks may be launched by hand on the shoreline. Fishing is allowed in designated areas.
All fishing within the park must conform to regulations concerning size, number, method of capture and season. A fishing license may be required. More information is available at the Florida Wildlife Commission’s Fishing in Florida.
Hiking is available, and visitors may walk the Tomoka Run Trail, which is a relatively short loop trail. The trailhead is located on the southeast side of the picnic area beyond the parking area gate. The trail may also be accessed from the park entrance drive. The trail is densely shaded in some areas and crosses a gurgling seepage stream. The trail runs through pine flatwoods, scrub and the edge of a bayhead. Tannic creeks bubble up from underground springs within the park. The creeks are surrounded by lush ferns, bay trees, wild azaleas and other shade tolerant plants. The dark water receives its lovely color from dissolved nutrients. Visitors interested in bird watching and wildlife viewing will thoroughly enjoy walking this trail. In stark contrast, sandy firelanes and sugar sand trails can provide a workout through scrubby pine flatwoods and scrub habitat. The endangered Florida scrub-jay may be observed perching on scrub oaks in this “desert” ecosystem. Visitors should be aware that the trails in this harsh, sandy environment can be very hot. Visitors are advised to wear a hat, sunblock and sturdy footwear suitable for hiking. Bring water, a friend, compass or a cell phone on longer hikes. Scrub communities are rare due to their presence on narrow geographic ranges, their small population sizes and because they support certain endemic species which are unable to survive anywhere else. As you walk, please stay on the trail to help protect rare and endangered plant species. Your interest and cooperation in protecting these “ancient seashores,” is greatly appreciated.
Wildlife is often seen when least expected. Visitors hiking the Tomoka Run Trail may come upon an otter playing in the waters of a gurgling seepage stream or spy a bobcat disappearing into the woods. Black bear may amble out of the woods and walk around on the grassy hill. Sandy firelanes may reveal the presence of rare and imperiled species such as the Florida sand skink and the gopher tortoise. Tracks of white-tailed deer, raccoon and bobcat may be examined. Walk down to the lakefront and along the shoreline of Lake June-in-Winter and scout for wading birds, ducks, turtles and alligators. Look for Florida scrub-jays along the park’s entrance road and sandy firelanes. Woodpeckers, red-shouldered hawks and other raptors may be sighted in the pines lining the entrance road and the trees surrounding the picnic area. Wildlife is most likely seen in the early mornings, late afternoons and early evening hours close to dusk.
There is a picnic pavilion with several tables, but no grills. Visitors are also advised that drinking water is not available at Lake June. A solar outhouse is the park’s only restroom facility. The picnic area is an open grassy hill overlooking Lake June-in-Winter. Visitors may walk down the hill and along the shoreline.