Withlacoochee State Trail – Croom Road Trailhead to Owensboro/Highway 301 Trailhead, Ridge Manor, Trilby – Hernando/Pasco County, Florida

Before You Go:

This is part 4 of a four part coverage of the Withlacoochee State Trail. Click here for Part 3 of the series and Click here for Part 2 of the series. Finally, Click here for the first post in the series.

In some instances, you will be traveling through some very rural areas. A cell phone is always recommended. Also, always inform family and friends of your biking plans and expected return time.
Observe wildlife but please respect their environment and their freedom to live unmolested. Leave nothing but tire tracks.

Continue reading Withlacoochee State Trail – Croom Road Trailhead to Owensboro/Highway 301 Trailhead, Ridge Manor, Trilby – Hernando/Pasco County, Florida

Withlacoochee State Trail – Floral City to Mile Marker 10/36 – Floral City, Nobleton, Istachatta – Citrus, Hernando County, Florida

Before You Go:

This is part 3 of a four part coverage of the Withlacoochee State Trail. Click here for Part 2 of the series and Click here for Part 1 of the series

Always remember to be aware of your surroundings. In some instances, you will be traveling through rural areas. A cell phone is always recommended.
Observe wildlife but please respect their environment and their freedom to live unmolested. I will now step down from my soap box. ūüôā

Continue reading Withlacoochee State Trail – Floral City to Mile Marker 10/36 – Floral City, Nobleton, Istachatta – Citrus, Hernando County, Florida

Withlacoochee State Trail – Hernando, Inverness, Floral City – Citrus County, Florida

Before You Go:

This is part 2 of a four part coverage of the Withlacoochee State Trail. Click here for Part 1 of the series.

Always remember to be aware of your surroundings. In some instances, you will be traveling through rural areas. A cell phone is always recommended.
Observe wildlife but please respect their environment and their freedom to live unmolested.

Continue reading Withlacoochee State Trail – Hernando, Inverness, Floral City – Citrus County, Florida

Withlacoochee State Trail – Gulf Junction Trailhead to Hernando Trailhead – Dunnellon, Citrus Springs, Holder, Hernando – Citrus County, Florida

Before You Go:

If you ride this trail in either the early morning or late afternoon/early evening, you can probably ride without worrying about sunscreen. Around mid-day, as the sun clears the tree line, sunscreen is definitely recommended.

Don’t forget a nice pair of padded gloves and your helmet!

Continue reading Withlacoochee State Trail – Gulf Junction Trailhead to Hernando Trailhead – Dunnellon, Citrus Springs, Holder, Hernando – Citrus County, Florida

North Bay Trail including Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida

Before You Go:

This trail is a mix of paved trail and on-road. Be aware, you will be sharing your ride space with other vehicular traffic during this route. I believe the trail will eventually be extended past its current end at Macoma Drive NE & 83rd Avenue NE. From that point, exercise caution; there is very little shoulder and it is a narrow two lane road once you approach the bridge near Riviera Bay.

As seems to be the case with many of the trails in St. Petersburg, there isn’t much shade along this trail.

A pair of shades, some cycling gloves are needed. If you are biking during the heat of the day, sunscreen is recommended as well as water.
Continue reading North Bay Trail including Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida

Island Loop Bike Route, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida

Before You Go:

This is not a paved trail but, rather, on road with a dedicated bike lane.  You will be sharing the roadway with vehicular traffic.

The trail does not have much in the way of shade so, if doing this trail during the heat of the day, sunscreen, sunglasses and a water bottle or two are strongly recommended.

Getting There:

The starting point for this trail is the North Shore Swimming Pool parking lot in downtown St. Petersburg.  Your best bet is to zoom in on the map below to be your bearings.  Zooming out will give you a bigger picture on how to arrive in downtown St. Petersburg.
Continue reading Island Loop Bike Route, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida

Venetian Waterway Park Trail, Venice – Sarasota County, Florida

 

Before You Go:

There isn’t a lot of shade along this trail so, if biking during the heat of the day, sunglasses and sunscreen should be used.

If you choose to spend any length of time at Caspersen Beach, remember to bring along a bicycle chain and a beach towel! ūüôā

Getting There:

From either north or south on Interstate 75, take Exit 193, Jacaranda Boulevard south to Venice Avenue.  Head west on Venice Avenue and exit before the Venice Avenue Bridge.  You will see the Venice Train Depot on your right.  Park in any designated spot.  Alternatively, you can take U.S. Highway 41 either north of south to Venice and head west on Venice Avenue for a short distance. Exiting before the Venice Avenue Bridge.

Trail Length:

The trail length is approximately 22 miles more or less.  There are some side trips you can take that will extend the distance traveled.

The Trail:

The trailbed itself is in fairly good shape. The trail is fairly level and flat.   For those who do not like bridge crossings, simply riding along the east side of the trail can be sufficient if you add in the Legacy Trail (which is the northern end of the trail just north of the Venice Train Depot).

Facilities:

  • There are facilities at the Venice Train Depot trailhead.
  • Facilities can be found at the Shamrock Nature Center.
  • There are facilities at Caspersen Beach Park.

The Cons:

  • Other than the lack of shade, there are really no cons along this trail.

The Pros:

  • The intercoastal waterway.
  • Caspersen Beach Park along the Gulf of Mexico.
  • The various art projects along the length of the trail.

Links:

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Progress Energy Trail – Clearwater – Pinellas County, Florida

Before You Go:

This is, other than the bridge to nowhere further north, the only section of the Progress Energy Trail.  I have read that there is finally some news on extending the trail, there is budgeting for extending the trail to the north in the 2014 budget.

There is no shade along the trail proper.  There is shade at the beginning of the trail that is part of the Ream Wilson Trail. Sunscreen and sunglasses are highly recommended during the afternoon hours.

Getting There:

The starting point of this trail is the same point I started on the Ream Wilson Trail.  The link to the post is Ream Wilson Trail Recap.

Trail Length:

This loop is only 7.18 miles.  Five miles of the trail is comprised of the Progress Energy Trail.  It is about 1.1 miles from the Long Center to the intersection with the Progress Energy trail.

The Trail:

The trailbed is in decent shape. ¬†It is nice that they didn’t make the trail arrow straight but, rather, built some curves into the design.

The trail, being so short, can be turned into a longer ride by adding the Ream Wilson Trail (link is above).

Facilities:

  • There are facilities at Long Center at the start of the trail.

The Cons:

  • The length of the trail; too short.
  • There are some very busy streets to cross. ¬†Mainly the crossing at Highway 60. ¬†Be careful!

The Pros:

  • The curves built into the design.
  • Easy access to the Ream Wilson Trail.
  • The electrical easement is wide enough that there are opportunities to view minor wildlife along the trail.

Links:

Send me an email. I would love to hear from you!

LOST – Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail – Port Mayaca to Mile 50E, Martin & Okeechobee County, Florida

Before You Go:

This trail can be tricky. Lake Okeechobee is the 2nd largest fresh water lake in the continental United States.  The trail bed is built upon an earthen dike that surrounds the lake.  The terrain is relatively flat and the section I rode through was absolutely treeless. Sunscreen is definitely required as well as a good pair of sunglasses.  I would also recommend insect repellant. I rode this in November and there were numerous insects.

Getting There:

The trail head I chose for this ride was Port Mayaca Locks and Dam.  The trailhead is located on the northern side of the lock off U. S. Highway 441/98.  Watch for the signs as you approach from either the north or the south.

Trail Length

The trail is 29 miles Рfrom the northern side of the Port Mayaca Locks and Dam to mile 50E and back to the Port Mayaca trail head.

The Trail

A word of warning to those not familiar with Florida during the summer. There is absolutely no shelter on this trail.  It is relatively treeless and you are riding atop a dike surrounding the 2nd largest freshwater lake in the continental United States. Pay attention to the weather forecast and the sky. Lightning strikes, during the summer months, are a reality and you ARE the tallest thing around for miles.  You could probably find shelter at one of the locks that you cross every so often.

Second words or warning. Bring insect repellent – even in the dry months. I rode the trail in late November around Thanksgiving and was stung and had to turn back.

Third words of warning, again weather related. Pay attention to the winds and plan accordingly. What might seem an easy ride may be much harder on the return. The winds off Lake Okeechobee are notorious for being persistent and strong. There are no natural wind breaks along the lake.

The trail bed itself is in relatively good shape. By the way you cannot circumnavigate the entire lake without venturing on surrounding roads.  And, if your goal is to circumnavigate the lake, be aware that the entire trail in not paved.  Being spoiled, I only plan to cover the paved portion of the trail.

All in all a fine ride. Do exercise caution crossing Old Highway 50 – it tends to be a fairly busy road and the crossing occurs near a curve in the road.

Facilities:

  • There are no facilities along this section of the trail. You could, though, venture off the trail at one of the lock crossings and probably find water and restrooms.

The Cons:

  • The scenery can get monotonous.
  • No facilities.
  • You are pretty much alone. ¬†The day I rode, I didn’t see anyone else on this portion of the trail. ¬†Make sure to bring your cell!

The Pros:

  • Lots of opportunity to watch wading birds along the shoreline.
  • The Port Mayaka locks. It is interesting to watch boats navigating through the lock.

Links:

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Lake Minneola Scenic Trail, South Lake Trail plus Hancock Extension – Clermont, Minneola – Lake County, Florida

Before You Go:

There are sections that are well shaded but there are also large areas that receive full sun – sunscreen is strongly recommended when biking during the heat of the day. There are some hills that shouldn’t be overly taxing if you are decent shape – others might struggle with some sections of the ride.

I’ve found this ride listed under several different combinations of names.¬†I chose to go with the signs that are posted along the trail itself as the official name for the trails.

Getting There:

I began my ride at the western trail end where Clermont fronts along Lake Minneola.  I chose that location over the eastern end of the trail which serves as the trailhead for the West Orange Trail (Kilarney Trailhead).  The Kilarney trailhead is a very busy affair so I preferred the less traveled Clermont trailhead.

From either east or west, take exit 55 on Interstate-4 and head north of U.S. Highway 27.¬† At Highway 27’s intersection with Highway 50, head west toward Clermont.¬† Head north of 12th Street.¬† You will see Lake Minneola appear on your right.¬† Park along the shores of beautiful Lake Minneola and enjoy the ride!

Trail Length

The trail is 23 miles Рfrom the western trail end at the southwest corner of Lake Minneola, to the southwest end of the Hancock Road Extension, to the eastern end at the Lake County/Orange County Line (the Kilarney Station trailhead that serves the West Orange Trail and back to the trail end in Clermont.

The Trail

There is a lot of diversity along this trail.  The beautiful lakefront ride along Lake Minneola on one side and the charm of Clermont on the other. There are open vistas near the Hancock Extension where you feel like you are looking over all of central Florida.  Ponds and pastures along the Old Highway 50 as well as some heavily wooded portions as you near the eastern end of the trail.

All in all a fine ride. Do exercise caution crossing Old Highway 50 – it tends to be a fairly busy road and the crossing occurs near a curve in the road.

Facilities:

  • There are facilities and restaurants along the Clermont waterfront.
  • Facilities can be found at the Kilarney Trailhead at the eastern end of the trail.

The Cons:

  • Some may find the climb along the Hancock Extension taxing.¬† This section could easily be skipped to avoid any major climbs.
  • The crossing at Old Highway 50.

The Pros:

  • Lake Minneola and the Clermont waterfront.
  • The climb along the Hancock Road extension. It provides a beautiful view of the surrounding area.
  • The wooded area around the Minneola Pavilion.
  • Believe it or not, the tunnels along the Hancock Extension. Since I live along the coast, tunnels aren’t usually part of the riding experience.

Links:

Send me an email. I would love to hear from you!

Happy Trails ~ John