From a distance, the border of Lake Hatchineha at Catfish Creek resembles a dramatic, green curtain. Look more closely and you'll see it's actually a solid wall of cypress poised along the edge of the glassy waters. Nestled by the lake, Catfish Creek is a popular landing for airboats. But when the water level is high, at about 51', a canoe or kayak ride along the cypress strand is enjoyable. You'll feel snug as you paddle between the marshy vegetation on the lakeside and the cypress on the land side. On higher ground at the lake's edge, ancient oaks grow in an unusual manner and provide the weary traveler with a good spot to rest. The massive tree limbs that snake along the ground could be mistaken for benches. Consider also a canoe or kayak trek into the property from a ditch adjacent to Port Hatchineha. It's a surprisingly scenic route that opens into marsh.
Be sure to explore the property by foot via a series of grassed roads or along the perimeter of the property. With the exception of the oak hammock, it's soggy, but it's abundant with wildlife, including birds, deer, turkey alligators, bald eagles and turtles. Just like ocean-going turtles, freshwater turtles lay their eggs in the sand, too; in this case, within the sandy lake edge. This sometimes provides a tasty meal for other animals. Look for exposed, half-eaten eggshells and nearby raccoon tracks that give them away as the thief.
For More Information:
Orlando Service Center FL WATS 1-800-250-4250 or (407) 858-6100.
- Port Hatchineha: From Lake Wales, travel north on U.S. 27 approximately eight miles and turn right on C.R. 542 in Dundee. Go approximately 1.5 miles and turn right onto Lake Hatchineha Road. Travel to end.