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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.
I was visiting the area and stayed in a hotel nearby. I walk regularly and saw the trail entrance my first day out. I made a point to check the trail out the next day. I was impressed! The trail is quiet in a very busy area. I enjoyed watching the wildlife in and around the canal. The few people I encountered walking, running, biking, and fishing were very friendly. I only wish there were bathrooms on the trail!
I would recommend this trail to all levels of riders. It is straight, wide and for the most part well signed. I did not encounter much in the way of fellow riders, wakers, etc. Peaceful. It is generally away from the street traffic noise and shaded.
You can go slow, fast and ride side by side with companion.
Parking can be a challenge, however you will find it. I parked at Home Depot. Get on 6-mile cypress parkway via sidewalk and go east for about 0.75 miles. Trail starts there.
Nice trail along a small river way in its entirety! Three wooden bridges along the way switching from one side of the river to the other. A couple of picnic benches along the way! Not much for scenery but there were many bird species, turtles and even a coyote!
So the parking is odd to terrible and (this is FL) requires at least one U-turn to get there. Three if you miss it the first time. The "grass" lot which will hold 50 cars is a dirt road right *after* the rail road tracks.
This lot is around mile 3, so you're sort of splitting the trail to park.
The trail itself is very nice - smoothly paved and quite wide. There is no water.
The road crossings are all very safe - either low traffic 2-laners or signals at wider/busier roads.
There is clearly a 5+ mile extension going in behind mile 0. That should cause some interesting signage.
Good info re: parking on Daniels, west of Metro PKWY. The off street parking is about in the middle of the trail. South of Daniels, the Trail is almost all shaded with really nice woods and canals. North of Daniels is newer, and just as great...shade in the am or late afternoon. Very scenic, enjoyable ride. Getting to the trail, I found it was easy to cycle from Tamiami Trail on Gladiolus (865) by parking at Home Depot and heading east (all new sidewalk) to the trail. Also on Gladiolus, which turns into Summerlin heading west is Lakes Park, which has some great cycling paths.
Well done trail...glad I found it.
I rode this trail nobo. I parked to the right of the pond per google maps and fifteen yards to the left of the trail and waterway. Several other riders had parked off the pavement of independence circle as I in hard sand. Per maps I suspect you could park as far away as Home Depot as there appears to be paved trail running along Six Mile Cypress Parkway. Saw lots of fish spawning nexts plus birds searching out food plus turtles. Overhead were airplane landings into page field. So enjoyable! One zigzag from phase 1 to phase 2 with no confusion. This is the way to build trails!!
We felt that the parking information was very poor. We parked at the Sports Complex and could not find the trail. After going the wrong way at first, we had to cross several busy streets and ask another rider before we got on the trail. After we found it, we enjoyed our ride. Please update the website.
Enjoyable bike riding for all ages. Smooth, level asphalt runs alongside the canal. We saw plenty of birds, hundreds of turtles, plenty fish and even a large alligator. The trail is open, not much shade mid-day. Benches and a few picnic pavilions offer a place to stop and rest. We recommend it for almost any age.
We wanted to find a moderate length ride to "run out the cobwebs" after traveling south. This was just the right length - 12 miles up and down. The day we rode the wind was out of the south so, going up was easier. Now we know to check the breezes before choosing our ride.
The birding is good, but limited to waterbirds - Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, White Ibis, and we also encountered a kestrel stalking his prey and he was very irritated that we interrupted him (or her).
The trail crossing at Daniels Parkway involves a 1/2 mile westerly detour to the intersection crossing and the same 1/2 mile back on the other side. The Parkway is busy enough that you don't want to cross in the middle. Also that mile is part of the overall distance of the trail. Parking at the trailhead is sufficient and easy to find just west of Metro Parkway on Daniels. We recommend this as an easy ride for an hour and 15 minutes or so.
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