Having rode on the Cross Seminole Trail (CST) for the past few months, and the Cady Way Trail for the past month, I finally decided to check out the Wekiva Trail at length. My first attempt on the Wekiva led me to the trailhead off International Blvd. in Heathrow after making a right turn after the I-4 bridge, in which I was at the end of my exploring and riding for that day, so I didn't go any further. Over the past few days, I had been preparing for a half-century ride (50 miles), and viewed all the starting and ending points/trailheads for each of the three trails to see which routes would give me a steady 25 miles out, and 25 miles back, without having to transport the bike to a trailhead, which I had not done in prior riding.
Starting out on the CST in Oviedo, making my way through Winter Springs, Longwood, Lake Mary and Heathrow, once I crossed the I-4 bridge, I turned left, instead of right this time, and made my way down International Blvd/Markham Woods Road. As with the CST and Cady Trails, all the parking lots and street crossings have handicap crossing plates, or small curb water diversions which you get use to after riding on either of the trails a few times. In this area, and with any street crossing you have to be cognizant of vehicles entering and exiting the parking lots, but it should be first or second nature when riding a bike at a street crossing. The Lake Mary Tunnel makes it possible to cross below grade rather than traversing the traffic on busy Lake Mary Blvd. Riding the trail through Heathrow/LakeMary/Longwood along/adjacent to Markham Woods Rd, I was more interested in viewing the trees, neighborhood, houses, business corridors, and new construction to really be distracted by the noise of the traffic. As I continued on the trail, I managed to slow down to take in the murals, which were a nice distraction. After coming out of the Route 434 Tunnel in Winter Springs, I made a note to stop at the Mobil/7-Eleven, which would be a refueling stop on the way back. This store has everything a rider could want in drinks, energy bars and gels to keep you going. After passing the Mobil, I did have to pay more attention to where I was going, as I didn't recall seeing a sign to the direction of the trail continuing. Luckily I did notice the faint ground markings of the trail, and the back of a trail direction sign across the intersection of Douglas and Harwood Avenues. This would be the only intersection or crossing that I came across which I would not say was clearly marked, but a quick view of the TrailLinks map, would have provided directions on which way to proceed. Continuing on the trail pass the Softball Complex and Sanlando Park, I had reached 25 miles at Montgomery Avenue and W. Central Parkway, so I stopped to turn around. Another rider informed me that the trail continued for another 2 miles or so to Route 436 in Altamonte Springs, but I decided not to proceed to the trailhead there.
On the return ride, I stopped at the softball complex to take in some energy bars and drinks, which would deplete what I was carrying. After a quick fuel break, I made my way to the Mobil/7-Eleven to replenish the water bottles, picked up another Cliff bar and some energy/protein gummies for the return trip. I think I spent $5.00 on Gatorade, a Cliff bar, and a pack of energy gummies. The return after this stop was a lot faster than the outbound ride, so I would have to say that outbound was more uphill than down. The exception would be after crossing Lake Mary Blvd. heading to the I-4 bridge which was more inclining rolling hills. A right onto the I-4 bridge, and I was on my way back to the Cross Seminole Trail.
Using both the CST and Wekiva trail for the half-century was a great experience, especially since I had never been on that part of the trail before. I didn't experience any major problems with traffic, traffic crossings, traffic noise, and besides the lack of a sign to cross Douglas Avenue, the ride was stress free, scenic and amazing. The trail was filled with walkers, runners, cyclists, and those taking in the sites while on their lunch break. With the exception of the hills between the I-4 bridge and Lake Mary Blvd., I would say that the Wekiva Trail is more flatter than the CST and Cady Trails, since it doesn't have any major bridges/overpasses for cyclist to traverse. All of the trails are well maintained, and whether you have a road, mountain, commuter, or cruiser bike, either would work for use on the trails.
I would definitely recommend this trail/ride as a beginning point or extension ride to the other trails.