Avon Park Air Force Range is an example of military and recreation meeting in harmony. The area is an active bombing range and there are signs advertising this. The signs warn that the area may have live ordinance and certain areas are off limits.
Hiking is this Florida park area is amazing. There is over 78,000 acres of land in the park that is available for the public to hike, hunt, camp, and ride. it is one of Florida's largest public nature park areas. There is an opportunity to see free range cows as you hike. Many of the cows tend to hang out near the entrance to the park and near the edge of the Kissimmee River. These animals are critical to grazing the grass and helping to keep vegetation in check and control invasive species. Birds also abound. There are many areas that are habitat for birds such as the red shouldered hawks, Florida grasshopper sparrow, red-cockaded woodpecker, and Florida scrub jay. Many of these animals are commonly seen near the river because many enjoy meals of the insects, frogs, and snakes that live on the river's edge.
The area is typically open from Thursday afternoon to Monday morning for public use. However sections or the entire area may be closed at any time due to military exercises. You can contact the park at 863-452-4119 ext 5 to hear a recorded message of park area availability. There may be fees to hike the 16 mile lake Arbuckle trail. However hikers are asked to stop by the office and get a no cost permit and sign a liability release form.