You’ll find the John Yarbrough Linear Park Trail to be an unexpected surprise in Fort Myers. Although bound by busy streets in all directions, the corridor itself is green and serene. The paved trail rolls alongside the Ten Mile Canal for 6 miles and crosses over it on a few pedestrian bridges where you can stop and take in the views. Look for egrets, herons, and other birds wading through its lush vegetation, and eagles in the tall treetops. You might even get lucky and spot an alligator.
The canal was built in the 1920s to control flooding in the southern part of the city and, when the trail’s first section opened in 2005, it was named Ten Mile Linear Park after the waterway. Later, it was renamed to honor a longtime director of Lee County Parks and Recreation, the entity that owns and operates the trail. Potions of the trail can be found along both banks of the canal and those on the west side are built on the former Seaboard Air Line Railroad.
You’ll find dedicated trail parking only on the southern end of the trail, on the south side of Daniels Parkway, so you can begin there and follow the path northward. At multiple points, you’ll encounter covered picnic tables, so you’ll be able to take shelter from the hot sun or the cool rain—both likely on any given day in Florida!
The northern end of the trail opens up and, over a median of brush, you’ll be able to see the train cars of the Seminole Gulf Railway, which the trail parallels. The rail line serves freight, but also murder mystery dinner trains several nights a week. The trail ends at Colonial Boulevard and just on the other side of the roadway is Colonial Station, where the trains depart from. If you’re in need of refreshment at the end of your journey, there are also a few chain restaurants nearby that you could access via the narrow paved pathways heading both east and west along the boulevard.
From US 41 southbound from downtown Fort Myers, turn left onto Daniels Parkway. Travel 1.1 miles east on the parkway and look for the small trail parking lot on the south side of Daniels Parkway, just before the railroad crossing. You’ll know you’re getting close to the parking area when you see the canal on your right and a small pedestrian bridge over it.