Lake Loop Trail
Trails within the Arboretum are graded easiest, moderate, and more difficult based on terrain and length.
Trail Grade: Easiest
The Lake Loop Trail is 0.3 miles long and encircles Lake Ray, a two-acre, man-made lake. The Lake Loop connects to the trailhead and is a wide, firm and stable, accessible trail. There is an approximate 25-foot drop in elevation between the trail head and the most easterly side of the Lake Loop. Tree and plant collections are located in this area.
Points of Interest
As you follow the Lake Loop Trail, look for various views of Lake Ray. Lake Ray is actually an early 1970s-era borrow pit. A dam separating the lake from Jones Creek is located on the eastern end. Lake Ray is nine feet at its eastern end and becomes gradually shallower toward the western end. It receives water from underground sources on the northern side, as well as rainwater, and runoff from adjacent uplands. The bottom is sandy with a thin muck layer. The water quality is good, and there is usually a natural seasonal algae bloom in late winter. Aquatic vegetation is mainly spatterdock (Nuphar luteum), with some marsh species (soft rush) and other wetland species along the banks. Various insects, fish, turtles and amphibians inhabit the lake, which also attracts ducks, coots and anhinga, among other species. It is used as a freshwater source by mammals and reptiles in the area.
Banks of the lake range from a very shallow slope (western end) to extremely steep (north and south banks). Vegetation on the banks and uplands around the lake includes a variety of grasses, forbs, shrubs and trees, all of which help stabilize the banks to keep them from eroding. Despite the vegetation, there are still areas that are eroding. As part of the UF/IFAS Lake Watch program, volunteers monitor Lake Ray six times a year for several water-quality parameters.