El Rio Trail


31 Reviews

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El Rio Trail Facts

States: Florida
Counties: Palm Beach
Length: 4.7 miles
Trail end points: Congress Ave. and Glades Road/FL 808 (Boca Raton)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6264961

El Rio Trail Description

The El Rio Trail parallels the canal of the same name, through Boca Raton from Glades Road/SR 808 north to Congress Ave. An underpass eliminates crossing NW 51st Street/SR 794/Yamato Road and takes you to the Tri-Rail station without having to cross the road and railroad.

Watch for turtles, great blue herons, owls, butterflies and iguanas along the canal. You can also bring a fishing pole and drop a line. In addition, bike lockers are available along the trail for those who want to hop on the Tri-Rail or Palm Tran. 

Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available at the Florida Atlantic University's guest parking area, which is a short walk to the trailhead at its southern terminus.

El Rio Trail Reviews

roller skating ride

Started at the north end by parking at the Hilton and meandering over. Pavement is awful between there and the Congress crossing. Avoided it on the way back. Rest of the path is manageable or really nice. Enjoyed the scenery. And iguanas. Would get out earlier next time to avoid some of the heat but there are shaded spots to stop. If I did it again, I may park near the tri-rail station or the Costco. Never found the guest parking near the university.

A little known connection is the trail from Tri-Rail thru old IBM complex under Spanish River to Spanish River Athletic Park and Spanish River Library. Nice ride

A little known connection is the trail from Tri-Rail thru old IBM complex under Spanish River to Spanish River Athletic Park and Spanish River Library. Nice ride

lovely trail w/varied wildlife and surfaces

Nice trail, surfaces vary but always good enough. TrailLink could be more helpful re location of parking though, and trail access, esp for walkers who want to be as close as possible. Enter the university from the first entrance west of the canal on Glades Rd or enter on NW 20th St. There are big lots and a garage at NW 20th St & East University Drive. The path can be accessed via an off-road sidewalk running from that intersection a little south along the unnamed road that runs behind the big dorm complex. from thatfrom

Nice trail with some street crossings that aren't that bad.

I parked my car in the Costco parking lot, and rode my bike to the trail from there. There were no major intersection to be crossed. Instead, the road crossings were on less busy parts. The trail is nice, but there a few parts with tree roots making the asphalt bulge a bit. The iguanas were pretty cool to observe even though I do believe they're an invasive species. There are some bridges you can go under, but you may want to be careful when it gets late because it's hard to see under them. Also, there was a sign warning that part could become flooded. So far, I would say it's a nice ride.


Great bike ride bring sunscreen

This was a very nice multi-use path. I tried to go tot he start at FAU but I couldn’t find the “guest” parking near the trail so I rode my bike starting at Countess de Hoernle Park (Spanish River Athletic Center). If you park there the path inside the park will lead you to T-Rex trail toward the Tri-Rail station and from there you can connect on to El Rio. I first rode to the north end of the trail which now goes to congress on the border of Del Ray/Boca. Then I rode to the other end which ends at Glades and then back to the parking area for a total of 12.4 miles. There are water fountains along the route and plenty of iguanas laying in the sunshine. I will bring the family back to ride with my kids. There are crossing gates across some roadways but they are well marked and have caution signals you can press.

great family bike ride

Paved smooth path with park benches. Saw iguanas and herons. Path crosses a few roads but all had cross walk lights to alert drivers. Lots of shade during our morning ride. Not crowded during the week. Only problem was figuring out where to park.

Fun, Clear Trail

Just biked El Rio for the first time and loved it! Extremely well marked, paved, with very few street crossings and those that are there have crosswalks. Pretty and varying scenery. The way the path goes under a few underpasses and the train tracks is really cool. We folllowed others’ advice to park at Delray Oaks Nature Area which was perfect — just a couple blocks from the northern trailhead.

One of the best things Boca Raton has done

Great trail for running, inline skating and casual biking. I run on this trail often and combine it with other dedicated bike paths in the city on my hybrid bike. The city has done its best to bypass the busy Yamato Rd intersection and the others at Spanish River Blvd and Clint Moore are manageable. The south end borders FAU which is usually a good place to bike. In the middle you can take a detour at the train station and head over to De Hornle Park and the Library for some additional biking. On the north end there’s Yamato Scrub for some great trail running and I like to add to my workout by utilizing the wide shoulders on the Clint Moore I-95 overpass for some bike hill climbs

Great Walking Trail

If you have three to four hours and great sunblock, this trail is amazing to walk the whole way. Bring plenty of water! Looking forward to doing it on the bike.

A good route for in-line skating

I ride with inline skates, and I’d say the trail was an 8 out of 10 for inline skating. It is such a pretty ride that is a great early morning ride for biking, skating, running, and walking. The pavement is smooth and clean, and there is a lot of flora and fauna to observe along all parts of the trail. There are a few intersections to cross but all have pedestrian-friendly crosswalks and lights. You get to ride through multiple tunnels that take you under I-95. I felt very safe the entire time and saw many others who were walking, running and biking solo. The only drawback was the section just north of Congress; the pavement was buckling and uneven and needed repaving, which makes it slow going for skating but would be no problem for biking. There are a few intersections to cross but all have pedestrian-friendly crosswalks and lights. A great way to start the day - just make sure to go early because Boca gets hot!

Great Ride!!

My husband and I loved this path! He is 65 and I am 61 and we like a casual pace to enjoy the scenery and this was just that! Very flat, plenty of benches a long the way if you need to rest! The iguanas were amazing! We really enjoyed it and can’t wait to ride again!

Much Improved

Nice trail along FAU campus and north. The trail has improved quite a bit over the last year, including a bike repair station by the Yamato Rd train station. Other improvements include tunnels under major roads. The northern part of the trail is somewhat narrow. But overall, worthwhile.

Short ride

If you start from the North you can park at Delray Oaks Natural area 2021 SW 29th St Delray Beach, head south on Congress on sidewalk once you cross over bridge splitting Delray from Boca make a right that’s the beginning from the North. Nice trail all the bridges to Spanish River, Yamato and the Tri-Rail are complete so you go underneath the overpassed. I went to the south end Glades and headed back over North at Yamato and went back south to ride in the Spanish River Athletic field and around by library. If you start out at the South End you can park at the CVS 686 Glades Rd Boca Raton, FL , cross over Glades at and hook a right that will be the South Entrance.

great trail

I love this trail and feel really safe while running it. The only advise I could give is to bring water, as the sections of open road really leave you exposed to the sun. There are different entry points on to the trail and the markers are visible.

Trail is complete

All the sections of the trail are completed, the new section under Yamato Road is really nicely done and it makes the whole experience so much safer. I used to ride only the South half of the trail because of the busy Yamato Road crossing but now I see lots of people taking advantage of the full trail, including families with young riders. I like to ride El Rio when I don't want to deal with auto traffic and now I can enjoy a longer ride.

Trail 95 percent completed ( just my opinion)

Hi I just biked the trail today and the segment at Yamato and near trirail that wasn’t completed - as stated in previous posts- is very nearly completed. In fact , I biked it through the couple barrels that were there warning Not to pass. But it is paved. I passed fine. I assume it’s awaiting final inspection so that’s why it’s not officially open. But overall trail in general is smooth to bike on, and I enjoy the views along the way.

Beautiful and almost done!

Ride this trail every morning. On a warm day after a cool night, lots of birds and big iguanas north of Yamato. The Yamato crossing was precarious but by observation the tunnel under the road seems finished (still some barrels there on Mar 18). This will make the almost 5 mile run very nice. I'd park at Costco, go around the back and catch the beginning (north end).

Very nice trail...once you park your car.

We got really frustrated driving around the University looking for guest parking and almost gave up. Ended up parking across Glades in a plaza. The instructions on how to cross Yamato are not clear at all. The trail information suggest you go toward the Boca train station and then you have to figure it out. Actually the only way to cross the train tracks is to use the station elevator and then there is more confusion again. Clearer instructions would be appreciated.

It is a nice trail along the canal with plenty of wildlife activity. The iguanas are quite entertaining. We enjoyed it and needed to let off some steam after the parking fiasco.

Great trail

Nice ride, lots of creatures to see out and about. Will be perfect when the Yamato crossing is done, thats a bit precarious. Where is the Guest Parking at FAU? We only saw meters (is it that??) and permit parking.

El Rio bike trail

An excellent ride from the FAU campus to Congress Ave near Costco. Crossing the railroad tracks/ Yamato Rd. was not a problem. The first part from the FAU campus is the most beautiful section along the EL Rio Canal.

Same aspahlalt concrete mix as the sidewalks around boca

This trail is made of a mix of asphalt concrete and coral I was hoping it was real asphalt because this stuff has been tearing up my shoes and hurting my knees.

Great for Iguana Lovers

I was a bit disappointed by the trail (pavement needs work), but the abundance of iguanas bring this from a 3 star to a 4 star experience


Found the El Rio a month or so ago. From Delray it makes a great "end of circuit" after A-1-A (at George Bush) to either Spanish River or Palmetto Park. There is no access across Glades Road/Inter-Coastal.

The best part is that it is not far and level (but there is always traffic on these streets.

El Rio is a great nature trail and the new underpass at Spanish River is not a distraction.

My most recent circuit was a mere 24.6 miles -- and I am only a novice rider! Took just over 3 hours. Very refreshing!

Trail re-0pens

Excellent, scenic trail.

During construction of a new interchange on I-95 and Spanish River Road, the trail is bisected by Yamato road. A tunnel is being built under Yamato Road, which when completed in 2017, should give an excellent continuous ride from Costco on Congress Avenue to FAU in Boca Raton without the present dangerous Yamato road crossing.

For now, to head South from the Tri-Rail station, one heads South from Yamato Road on the northbound side of the Tri-Rail station

Nice trail

I have ridden this trail many times while bike commuting to work. It is nicely maintained. Outside of the poorly thought out crossing at Yamato, this is a 5 star trail with access to FAU, Tri-Rail, multiple business parks and the T-Rex Trail which runs through the park at Spanish River. There is a nice figure 8 loop through Countess de Hoernle Park and Pondhawk Natural Area.

There is also an "L" shaped extension north of Congress that terminates back into Congress for an additional 0.9 miles of trail.

Nice Trail

This is a nice north/south trail that is wide enough for multiple people side by side. Most of it is asphalt but a section at the north is concrete.

As noted by other reviews the trail was extended north from Clint Moore to Congress and this leg is very nice. If you look at Google Maps it will show this trail continuing north of Congress then making a left to connect with Congress again. This section not very wide and not well maintained and not recommended at all for those on inline skates.

Update since Dec. 2011

Still absolutely love El Rio. City has extended N. of Clint Moore to Congress Ave right next to Costco. Easy connection to T-Rex Trail on west side of tracks, which can bring you further west and a connection to Patch Reef Trail...not a seemless connection YET, but hopefully in future. Still waiting for over/underpass to cross Yamato. This is desperately needed...especially with gas prices jacked up AGAIN and more people using bicycle as primary transportation form.
I urge all local cities to extend and/or construct new paths to make it seemless bike traveling. This week 2 teenagers died in 2 days while riding our congested FL roads. This needs to stop. Please make it safe(r) for us environmentally conscious who have decided to Dump da' Pump for ped transportation!

A nicely maintained trail, but with a few busy road crossings to contend with. Extensions connect to both the new trails in the Spanish river park, and the existing trail north of congress along the canal. Thanks to a new light on Congress Ave, the northern extension can easily followed to SW 21st,which connects to the trail on Old Germantown Rd. Combined with the park trails, this allows for a mostly vehicle free 14 mile ride, if ridden from one end and back.

Extended N to Congress

Today (FEB 9, 2013) rode newly paved section which has extended this trail to the North. It's northern terminus is now at Congress Ave. Nice ride.

Nice and Easy

Trail was as expected, concrete and ran along a canal. There is evidence that the trail is going to be extended and a new cross walk with a light was installed on Congress. Unfortunately, my bike chain snapped halfway into my ride and I was unable to finish the entire trail. However, I did see at least 8 iguanas, a couple of turtles and birds. What surprised me most were the water fountains and benches along the trail. A great ride. I plan to go back and finish this trail once my bike chain is fixed.

Awesome Trail

My neighborhood is right on this trail, so I use it quite often. It is an extremely easy trail, extremely safe and beautiful. Trail runs along a canal where you can spot Iguanas sunning in midday, Anhingas (snakebirds) chilling, Oppossum ,Blue Herons and possible Black Racer snakes. Trail dumps you right at the Tri-Rail to support public transportation and there's also a separate trail on opposite side of the tracks called T-Rex Trail, which takes you back southbound, then westbound at Spanish river Blvd, where it leads you to the public library.
Only issue with trail is crossing Yamato Rd, as it is a deathwish attempting so. BUT the city has detailed that they are in the process of planning an over or underpass to cross in the near future. Also wish the trail could be extended further North and South to connect to other prime destinations. If so, I could easily turn cycling into my prime form of transportation. Get out and enjoy today!

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