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Connecting small communities and suburban neighborhoods, the 22-mile West Orange Trail is one of Florida's most popular rail-trails, thanks to its reputation and proximity to metro Orlando. Fifteen minutes northwest of downtown, the route serves as a window on the region's past and present, passing through 1950s communities that grew up around the once-thriving Orange Belt Railway, as well as more developed areas in this rapidly expanding metropolitan area.
Killarney Station, a modern take on an old-time train depot, anchors the southern trailhead. Here you'll find bike rentals, restrooms and water. From here the route leads northeast through the quiet, wooded community of Oakland before hitting downtown Winter Garden. For about 1 mile the trail threads down the middle of two-lane Plant Street, allowing trail users to browse the shops and restaurants of this lively community.
For the next 10 miles the trail pops in and out of thinly wooded areas, occasionally passing orange groves that speak to the county's agricultural roots. This stretch is open to equestrian use.
Beyond lies Apopka, one of central Florida's fastest growing communities. You'll soon cross busy US 441 along Forest Avenue. The trail runs 3 more miles along North Park Avenue before ending at the northern trailhead on East Welch Road.
To reach the Killarney Station trailhead from Orlando, take Florida's Turnpike to Exit 272 and head west on Route 50/West Colonial Drive. In less than 1 mile, turn right on Deer Island Road and take the next left on Old SR 50 East. Killarney Station is 0.5 mile ahead on the left. Parking is available.
To reach the northern trailhead, take I-4 to Route 50/West Colonial Drive and head west. Within 1 mile, turn right on US 441 and drive north 11.5 miles to Route 435. Turn right on Route 435 and look for the trailhead 2.25 miles ahead on the right, where Route 435 and East Welch Road intersect. While there is no parking at this trailhead, you can park along the route.
Rode various portions of the trail over the course of three visits to complete the whole trail. From Killarney Station to Vineland-Apopka Station is still the best bike trail in Florida. Skip the part from Vineland-Apopka Station to Lester Road. Even so, this trail deserves 5 Stars
Beautiful trail. Started in Apopka and ended in Winter Garden where my girlfriend and I grabbed lunch and rode back to Apopka. Not many bikers for a Sunday afternoon.
This trail was a great start to our vacation as it is flat and about 22 miles long. We enjoyed the whole thing which has about 750 ft. of elevation change. Best part is Winter Garden which is a beautiful town with a couple of fantastic bike shops and lots of places to eat. It is about 6 miles in from the western end of the trail. Also loved the West Orange Bikes and Rentals as they set us up with great bikes for the week.
We rode six trails in the area last week this one was special because 30 years ago we lived here before the trail. Of course the growth in the area was a shock, but riding the WOT was exciting because of what it has done to the areas it passes through, The trail is well marked, smooth, scenery varies from one community to the next. The stations are spaced nicely and are clean. The ride in Winter Garden has a great bike shop that was a help to us, Wheel Works. Several nice restaurants right on the trail we could only do one. But mostly coming back do see what a great trail it is made the trip worthwhile. We will go back.
An earlier review suggest that the Winter Garden portion of the trail prevented 5 stars. Sad, as the small town has an excellent historic museum, interesting train museum, excellent and tasty restaurants. Slow down, stop and smell the roses. Biking is not only an adventure, it is meant to be enjoyed as well.
Wonderful paved trail through neighborhoods, nature, & historic old small towns. Lots to do on trail and offers more than others. Would ride again !
The trail is beautiful! Great for all types of riders. Family friendly to serious riders. Short or long rides the trail is the perfect place for exercise. I love the casual rides with my family. Also, love the long rides on my road bike for serious but fun workouts. Beautiful scenery to enjoy all throughout trail. One of the best bike trails in the region.
Great bike trail with a lot of variety. The only problem is going through downtown Winter Garden where the trail goes through the heart of the city on sidewalks. You have to slow way way down to avoid others. If not for this I'd give this the highest rating.
For the last three morning, I have rode this trail and love every moment of my ride. I parked at Killarney Station trailhead and rode in both directions. The numerous stop signs did not bother me at all. The trail width can accommodate a fire truck . This trail does provide some shading with some hills depending on the direction you ride.
This trail has too many interruptions with stop signs and street crossings. One section literally goes through the middle of Winter Garden main street and around a fountain with hardly any path. Some sections were not labeled well either. I took a wrong turn and ended up on a dead end residential street near some stables. Then crossing at 441 is a pain. And some areas near Apopka were a little...questionable. If you want a leisurely stroll after eating too much at the cafes in Winter Garden, then this is all you. But if you want your heart rate up, don't waste your time on this trail.
2 senior couples started at the Apopka Station Trailhead. The Trail surface is excellent. Much of the Trail is rural until it enters the outskirts of Winter Garden. After lunch at the Moon Cricket Cafe in Winter Garden we returned to Apopka. Much of the land along the Trail outside of Winter Garden is being developed into home sites.
After riding the C.S.T. and W.S.T. for months, I decided to try out the W.O.T. for the first time I drove to the Apopka Station, which was well maintained with plenty of activities going on, and people just enjoying the weather. There were other cyclist vehicles in the lot, so I felt no worries on leaving my vehicle here. I decided to start riding out of the city limits, and although your first sites are urban, street traffic and an industrial site, these do not distract or interfere with your ride. After passing this area, the rest of the ride was mostly wooden and nature surroundings, with housing developments or subdivisions, and a golf course on either side. This trail is very peaceful and serene, with plenty of places to stop and take in nature, or to take a break to grab something to eat (out of jersey pocket or backpack). There's plenty of rolling hills, which are manageable for anyone cycling, skating or walking. The path for the most part is very smooth, paved asphalt. Any discrepancies in the roadway come in the form of some buckles from tree roots, and fallen leaves or small branches or twigs. The different stations along the way also make it easier to take a break every few to five miles or so. The Christmas decorations in Winter Garden were also a plus during this ride, and I took the time out to take some photos to note what I'd seen. At the end, the Killarney Station is a welcome site in order to refuel or recoup. The staff were very friendly and helpful in guiding me on the second part of this days journey to Lake Minneola. I would stop here on the return to refuel and recoup since I went straight out and back to Lake Minneola & Groveland. As it was my first attempt going , thought I was slower than I should have been, but on the return, things went by very quickly, and it seemed shorter and easier. This is a trail you have to try. I just wish that it connected to the other trails to alleviate me driving there.
My friends and I trained for a full 26.2 Mile marathon on this trail. We love it. There are plenty of water stops and plenty of bathroom areas. Kudos to Orange County for sub-letting the trailhead buildings to bicycle shops as there are friendly staff at each station who clean the bathrooms and keep an active presence for the trail.
My friends and I have covered the entire trail at various lengths. My personal favorite meet-up place is the mid-way point Chapin Station. Not only is it the most deluxe stop along the way it is also the most shaded and has the most parking. As Chapin Station is the halfway point when you get there you can either go left or go right and have 10 miles in either direction to explore.
Be warned though… between Chapin Station and Winter Garden Station is the dreaded “big hill”. The state of Florida is known for being flat except in this one silly spot. Honestly it is no big deal but we joke about it every time we run the trail.
My preferred router is to start at Chapin Station then go north. The trail has a very slight incline for over 2 miles. When going upwards you don’t even notice the incline however on the way back from a long run this decline is wonderful. Also North of Chapin Station is mostly shaded and quiet.
I recommend parking at Chapin Station then going to the left or to the right for a great trail experience.
Starting from the Killarney trailhead, I have now ridden this trail both westbound towards Clermont and eastbound towards Apopka. This week was my first experience on the Apopka side. What beautiful scenery, interesting elevation changes and well-maintained roads. Got lost going to Winter Garden, but that was just my life the area. The trail winds around through a golf course, excited cemetery, both incredibly beautiful landscaping. This has become my new favorite ride.
have stayed twice for long weekends. Beautifull long trails, Good food and hotel. You can park your car and forget it. The Winter Garden / Minneola area, ranks with the Dunedin / Tarpon Springs area as my favorite. OK throw in Gainesville also.
Anyone found keys I dropped along the trail?
If you are planning to make this a weekend trip and can only visit once go when the orange trees are in blossom. The intermittent fragrance was a highlight--as well as the call of wild turkeys. This was a wonderful ride and we plan to do it again.
Our current favorite, center point is Winter Garden, a great town for coffee, a snack, or a meal, with ample people watching opportunities. A great bike shop, a nice old-timey B&B, and probably anything else you need at the beginning, middle or end of a nice ride. Trail is well paved, occasional marked crossings, some moderate hills too! Some of the stops in each direction include bike shops for repairs or rentals. Excellent restrooms. Our recommendation is to park in Winter Garden, then ride out either east or west. Western direction has more hills, and becomes the Minneola Trail, also excellent, adding about another 8 miles, to make this 30 miles, end-to-end, 60 miles for round trip.
A really diverse trail that has a varied terrain and lots to see and do along it's length. Support stations every 5 miles or so for rest, water and bathrooms. Multiple small towns to stop and eat, or enjoy a break. My wife and I are on this trail every week and there are always people but it is not over run except on nice weekends when it can be very, very, busy. Try it you will like it. Safest parking at Killarney's station off 50. It is manned and heavily patrolled during daylight hours, also bike rental and repair. Anywhere in Winter Garden or downtown Clermont also great for parking. Stop to see the animals at the Oakland Nature Preserve, and a new micro brewery is about to open in Winter Garden. Try the new extension at Clermont as well around Lake Hiawatha.
I am a recreational cyclist who prefers longer rides and this trail seems to cater to the more casual rides. With its many stop signs and street crossings it is difficult to get into a good pace before you must stop. While I see many riders ignoring the stop signs and trusting cars to yield it is a dangerous practice. With the many walkers, runners, bladers, dogs, strollers and more this trails is for everyone except the serious cyclers who can average 20mph+.
Thus far, the West Orange Trail and Minneola Trail in combo comprise my favorite skate. There are some interruptions, but it is well worth it for the scenery and rolling hills where top speeds can be reached (I'm a novice...and reached 25-30mph).
At times, it's hard to believe you are in FL. The pavement is smooth throughout except for a couple areas of construction.
Although this trail may sound a bit dangerous, I've somehow managed to skate 20+ miles on two separate occasions without adding to my collection of scrapes and bruises. The trail is popular, but not TOO popular (enough people to call 911 if you have a freak accident, but sparse enough as to not get into a situation where 911 is needed)
There are plenty of stops along the way...and if you really need a shower when you're finished, just take the connecting Lake Minneola Trail. If you aren't brave enough to cannonball into the lake, there is an outdoor shower (an important amenity to the couch-surfing / hippie trail-goer)
The eastern portion of the trail leaves a little to be desired, so if you don't have time to check out the entire trail, start on the Killarney Station end. It's a great ride/skate/jog whether you chose to go towards Clermont (Lake Minneola) or Winter Garden.
This trail is perfect for every type of rider. Stay easy of the Killarney trailhead for flat terrain. If you want some hills, venture west of Killarney onto South Lake trail.
Nice, sefty and clean ... 👣 🏃 🚲
We parked at roughly halfway point on Clarcona-Ocoee Rd, and rode west to end. Trail was well maintained with lots of shade. Winter Garden was a great little town with lots of pubs, shops and restaurants. 20mi round trip. The next day we parked at same spot and rode east. Not as scenic as going west. Fast food in Apopka. Its hard to know where the Northern end of trail is. 15mi round trip.
We rode about 20 miles round trip from Killarney station to just south of Ingram outpost and back. the trail was wide and well-maintained with plentiful restrooms and water. There are numerous driveway and road crossings between Killarney Station and Winter Haven, but they are rural with little traffic so didn't slow us down much. There is a bike shop in Winter Haven if you need parts or service. The trail runs down the middle of a wide medial strip in Winter Haven but there are 2 blocks where you have to ride on the sidewalk. We decided to ride on the street instead and missed the turn for the trail. Luckily we found it again. We took a little break upon return to Killarney Station before riding a portion of the Lake Minneola trail. If you combine both the WOT and Lake Minneola trail, it's nearly 60 miles round trip. Lake Minneola is described as "hilly" but it depends where you are from. It's not flat, but very doable and gives you a chance to use some of your other gears. Both trails are scenic and in good shape. Lovely ride!
My first time ever riding this trail. What a great experience it was .Nice, and quiet Sunday afternoon ride. It was a lot of fun and believe me I will be doing this again. Thank you. D.
i rode the length of this trail and 6 miles of the south lake trail, round trip for a 50 mile ride. I had the most wonderful experience. At the beginning, someone on a hybrid let me use his pump, because he noticed my rear tire was low and then when we took off, we started drafting off each other. i led first, then when i was wearing out, he led, and i drafted. we did that almost to winter garden, then i lost him, he dropped off. I went all the way to the mineolla outpost and turned around to go back. unfortunately after i went through winter garden, i lost the trail, because it took a 90 degree left turn and i ended up on the hwy for about 2 miles and got hit by a car. it wasnt bad, a big bruise on my inner thigh and a few scrapes. after checking out my bike, i shook his hand and said we're good and i rode back to the trail. Finished the ride back to apopka with an in-line skater drafting off me for about 8 miles. that was cool. lots of friendly people out there. will do it again this coming sunday
I live 3 blocks off trail at 19.7 marker and use the trail frequently. Great ride with all types of riding on asphalt. Traffic lights at major crossings make the ride a lot safer. Well maintained and clean usually. In a year of riding this trail have never had a problem with any safety issues. I feel blessed to have access to such a wonderful safe place to ride my bicycle.
I started in Winter Garden. I entered "401 E Plant St, Winter Garden" on my GPS to get directions to parking. I came to this trail for my weekend long run. What impressed me most about this trail is the large number of water stops along the trail. There are either water fountains or coolers of water (which cannot be tampered with)every two to three miles. Somehow, even on a 90+ degree day, the water the coolers was cold! I took a small water bottle instead of my Camelbak, and it made the run so much more enjoyable.
The restrooms along the trail are clean! There is a good variety of scenery, and a lot of shade. Bicyclists and roller bladers, I will warn you to use caution the day or so after a storm. There may be a lot of fallen branches. It doesn't look like a problem if you are out for casual recreation, but if you are going for speed and endurance, you might find it rough. It felt like a safe place to run. The people on the trail were really friendly, and the fast bicyclists were very good about warning that they were passing. I recommend wearing sunscreen and bug repellent. Have fun!
The West Orange trail is a fully paved trail that connects with the South Lake Trail at Kilarney trailhead station on the west end, five miles west of Winter Garden. The South Lake provides some rolling hills that ends at Lake Minneola. The West Orange portion of the trail is well maintained and very clean except some eyesores in the Apoka area.
We love this trail but lost prescription sunglasses/in a bike bag on Jan 19 at reward 407 432 9861
This may be the best and most enjoyable trail I have ridden. People told me not to ride the last 3-4 miles through Apopka. "It's a bad area." We decided to go ahead and ride through Apopka to the northern trail head. It was just fine. If we had not done it, we never would have met Jan Alden, co-owner of Spin City Cycles in Apopka. A nice lady and a wonderful little bike shop in Apopka. My advice is to ride the whole trail. It's great!
We had similar bad advice about taking the extension that goes to Lake Mineola. "Oh you don't want to go that way, there are a lot of hllls." I'm from MIchigan, which is not exactly mountainous, and the hills we encountered on the way to Lake Mineola where not very challenging. Once again, go for it. It will be worth the ride!
Restrooms were immaculate and the trail was well cared for. Five stars!
I really love this trail! The only problem is the huge amount of new development along the trail. We love the trail for its balance of quaint town and nature...but the scales have already been tipped in the wrong direction. The very reason we love this trail is being destroyed. HELP!!! I especially love the housing development boasting of being a "green community". It was much greener before they cemented it over...This trail is losing its charm for me. How about you? Just think about it...
We rode the trail Saturday 10/12/13. No events or epics. No flats in Apopka. Very nice trail end to end with nice lunch options and Saturday morning market in Winter Garden. The curb transitions are bone jarring. If you miss the right turn to Apopka the trail ends at an equestrian center. Beautiful oaks along the route.
BONUS ALERT, I had not seen this mentioned in any other postings but if you ride another 3.75 miles straight ahead North/past the end of the "official" end of the trail, which is Welch Road, up to Kelly Park Road, turn right, go 200 yards, turn left, go 100 yards, enter Kelly Park. Rock Springs is in the park. For $1.00 you can enter the park on your bike and ride back to the spring head which is a magnitude 2 "very strong flow" spring. We rode WOT Labor Day weekend in 94 degree heat so swimming in a 72 degree crystal clear spring was awesome. As a note, from Killarney Station to the Spring and back is 51 miles round trip so I wouldn't recommend doing it on junk rental bikes.
The Killarney end of WOT is clearly the better end as you will ride directly through Winter Garden and some very nice picturesque areas.
Mt wife and I live in Ocala and WOT is probably our second favorite trail right behind the Gainesville ----> Hawthorne Trail.
You might be surprised to see Orange County supplied water coolers in stands with ice spread around the first five/six miles on the Killarney end, a very nice touch, you will need your own bottle or cup.
In summary, WOT is an excellent trail that you will enjoy immensely!
My husband and I have been exploring various bike trails throughout Florida to find our favorites. We rode the first 10 miles of the WOT yesterday (from Killarney Station), and loved it! This is definitely one of the nicest trails I've seen so far (at least the section we rode). Perfect balance of nature, parks, and towns. The trail stations are so cute and clean; possibly my favorite part of this trail. I loved the memory garden at the 3rd station. The trail is well maintained and water/restrooms are plenty. The town of Winter Garden is adorable and definitely makes this trail extra enjoyable. We ate at the Cricket Moon Grille, which had excellent sandwiches and service. Nice to see some of the history of the town still preserved; a rarity in Florida. The only negative I could see is what a few others have already said; there are too many crossroads that do not have to stop for the trail; which makes for a lot of stop and go riding. Although, most are not busy intersections and any wait to cross is minimal. Again, as a family trail or a casual ride; this is the perfect trail. We'll be coming back often. Thank you to all the people who've worked so hard making this such a clean, well maintained, and beautiful trail!
Re-paving of the trail from mile marker 0 at Killarney to mile marker 4.5 in downtown Winter Garden is complete. On July 29 a crew was doing layout for striping at the intersections. The new asphalt looks great!
When I read spincitycycles' review below, I was very skeptical. Although I ride the West Orange Trail a couple of time a month, I had ridden through Apopka to the north end of the trail and back only once, a few years ago, and had never again gone past mm 16. Yesterday (Saturday, June 15th) I decided to give it another try.
The transformation that has taken place in the neighborhoods south of Apopka is remarkable. The yards and streets have been cleaned up so that the landscape is really quite pleasant. (The only thing missing was riders.)
Kudos to the city of Apopka, Orange County, and the citizens of the area, for the clean-up; and to spincitycyles for bringing this to our attention.
This effectively adds a significant amount of mileage to the West Orange Trail. I think that trail users will be very pleased if they give this portion of the trail another look.
Used the Edgewater B&B as our base. Great choice, approximately halfway between the WOT trailhead in Apopka and the Clermont South Lake/Lake Mineola Trail trailhead. Town of Winter Garden is very cute and the trail goes right down the middle of the main street. Ride to Apopka was an eclectic experience as we saw hawks, snakes, and rabbits. We also took a spur and came across a horse show jumping event at the Apopka Equine Center. We missed Kelly Park (the site of a spring) because a sign showed the trail ending before arriving at the park entrance. Suggestion - take that sign down. Instead we stopped at a Rita's Italian Ice shop and enjoyed a refreshment for the ride back. The next morning was the ride west to the connection with the South Lake/Lake Mineola trailhead. Very lovely ride with a stop and walk around at the Oakland Nature Preserve, right on the trail. We rode on to Clermont on the South Lake/Lake Mineola Trail, itself a great trail with awesome views of the Lake, and hills!
Today I joined 2 cycling friends at Chapin Station in Ocoee Florida for a trip down the West Orange Trail to the Buddhist temple. I was on a pair of Bont Hustler inline skates while they rode. I haven't been on this trail in a while on inline skates but I have to say it was a joy.
I have to rate it a B+ for inline skating primarily due to the damage to the trail caused by the roots of the many trees pushing up through the tarmac. Debris was light and the trail was well maintained overall. For road cyclists I would rate it an easy A. The same for joggers. The nothingness that is this section of trail gives it a rating hit for families though. For families I would give it a C, but keep in mind that is for this section. There is a lot more to this trail.
Although the road crossings were pretty busy roads on that section of the trail, it didn't really hinder my average speed. The ADA mats are starting to proliferate here as well and interestingly enough they were fronting roads to no where. I just tucked and slammed them at speed. The noise of that transition was so loud though when my skates hit them it actually scared one of the cyclists I was with.
Though there have been a couple of minor incidents in the past, the South Apopka area of the West Orange Trail is being well maintained so there are no glass problems and also Apopka police have had bike patrols that have eliminated any problems with the locals. Both my wife and I ride through there regularly with never a single incident. We are the owners of Spin City Cycles on the trail in Apopka and we offer rentals, sales and service. Please give the Apopka portion of the trail a chance. It is pleasant to ride on and not nearly as crowded as the Killarney/Winter Garden end of the trail.
This trail used to be my favorite trail. But road construction, those stupid red rubber things that Seminole County is installing and tree root damage has made this trail questionable for inline skaters. Road crossings are many and do keep in mind that few drivers in Central Florida believe in stopping for anything but a vehicle bigger than their own, inline skaters don't qualify.
Someone already mentioned how bad the Apopka section is. It is a VERY rough area and I HIGHLY recommend it be traveled in numbers if you must. Otherwise avoid it.
Auto break-ins are an issue at some of the remote trail heads. Use common sense when you park. The most common break in is the "smash and grab".
Cyclers will semi enjoy this trail. But the road crossings will grate on your nerves. Too numerous and too busy now. Many drivers will block crosswalks and then get mad at you if you beat on their window and say "McFly....". When will the Florida officials start ticketing drivers for blocking intersections and cross walks??? I actually watched an Ocoee police officer run a stop sign with no lights going and speeding while doing it. I watched several riders who were getting ready to cross after stopping who expected him to stop at the sign slam on their brakes to avoid getting hit by the speeding police car.
In essence, if you are a recreational rider you will enjoy this trail. If you are a fitness skater or beginning level skater you might want to find another trail to learn on.
We ride the trail many times through the winter months and love it every time. The trail facilities are excellent with good parking areas and rest rooms. We used to ride the entire trail which takes you up through Apopka and across the magnificent bridge over Rt. 441.
However, we got sick of fixing flat tires (three in one day) when we rode through one particular section of the trail where locals seem to think it is fun to break bottles on the trail. Even when it looked safe to pass through we picked up tiny pieces of glass and had flats. We now stop at the horse park and turn around to head back to Winter Garden or Killarny.
This is a great trail with only one problem area.
If you are going to ride through Apopka make sure you bring the equipment you need to fix flat tires!!
15 recumbent riders rode from Winter Garden to Clarcona horse park. We do this ride every December to enjoy the Holiday decorations. With many great trails in central Florida, this has become our favorite! Go East from Winter Garden to the horse park for an easy 20 mile ride. Go West to Clermont for a "hilly" 28 mile ride. Enjoy the good restaurants in Winter Garden after the ride. Pizza our FAV!
This trail has something for everyone. Hills or very few inclines. I love to bike this trail.
I went to a bicycle trail (west orange trail) a couple of Sundays ago, rented 3 bicycles for my wife and son and we loved it. We went, again the next Sunday. I bought myself a bicycle and have gone to it every Sunday since that first day. It is a very relaxing, fun trail, good for exercise. I have told a few members of my church and they want to go.
fellow cyclists this trail is the "porsche" of all bike trails...what this area needs is a comprehensive bike trail linking all existing and proposed trails to be ahead of the curve of eco-tourism (and darn good fund for locals)..after all how much disney, universal, etc...can tourists take? this will only increase our reputation as a mecca for tourists of all ages.
Nice Ride, just moved down to FL. Very happy to see that central FL has some great trails. This is a great trail for all around sight seeing and plenty off places to stop and take in all that central FL has to offer.
Winter Garden is great little town, nice place to get lunch. On the flip side sad to see the run down side of Apopka.
This is a great trail for a simple ride.
Jan. 2010 We rode east from Kilarney Station to the Horse Farm. Great Ride! Beautiful scenery! Bike path surface was good. Lots of rest spots and small parks with great facilities. Great path to ride, not to train. If there were more paths in other communities in our country like this one, cycling would explode. Will be back to ride it again, maybe head west next time and find the hills.
If you are looking to train or put in serious mileage, find a country road and it will be more helpful and probably safer. From the Forest Ave. trail head, there are intersections every quarter/half mile for the next 10 miles (got frustrated and turned around at this point), many are preceded by blind turns. All intersections but one are 2 way stops giving motorists the right of way so there are no opportunities to safely get in to a cadence without stopping for traffic.
We rode west from Winter Garden to Killarney Station in mid-February 2009. The trail is great, the trailside scenery beautiful, and the little ups and downs and curves make it fun to ride. There is a nice nature center along the trail that has walking trails (no bikes) which are very nice; one trail goes to Lake Apopka on a boardwalk. The most fun partof the West Orange trail, though, was the new extension beyond Killarney Station. Believe it or not, there are actual hills in this part of Florida. We rode only the first 2 1/2 miles past Killarney Station, which was great fun and mostly away from roads. After 2 1/2 miles the trail began to follow a road closely, and that didn't appeal to us so much so we turned back. We were told the new extension is 8 miles.
I rode this trail in December '08 on a beautiful sunny, warm day. my plan was to start in Apopka, ride to the end & back. we drove over from Daytona & looked in vain to find the Apopka trailhead. turns out we drove near it but there were no signs to it. so we wound up meandering through the countryside on back roads trying to find it (wasting precious riding time) and finally found the trailhead in Winter Garden. the ride was great (but short); why not put up some "TO TRAILHEAD" signs? (not everyone is a local who just knows where it's at.)
I recently rode this trail with my son and daughter. My son was on his single and my daughter and I rode our tandem. We started the trail at the Clarcona horse park just south of the town of Apopka where there is a nice shaded parking area. The trail here is actually a spur of the main West Orange trail but you quickly pick up the main trail as you ride out of the park. We headed south and were in and out of shade most of the way to Killarney station. The trail twisted and turned a good bit so it is very fun to ride, not just a straight shot, but look out for the numerous road crossings as you are riding through a suburban area. We had no problem with traffic but that may have been due to the holiday. We ended up at Killarney station after about 15 miles where there is a nice bike shop with restrooms and a large parking lot, the bike shop let us use some chain lube and also told us that the trail continues an additional 8 miles south of the station but had a few hills, we are from Georgia so I doubt it is actually very hilly. We were unable to ride the additional 8 miles due to time constraints but if it is anything like the first part of the trail it would be well worth the effort and we plan on riding it the next time we are in Florida.
Overall a very nice trail, you can't really hammer along due to the road crossings but some fast and twisting sections that make it a lot of fun.
The South Lake Trail is now officially open from Hancock Road (in Lake County) to the Orange County line. There is now a contigous trail from Apopka to Clermont.
"My 14 1/2 year old daughter and I rode the trail for the first time this past weekend. I hadn't been on a bike in 24 years so we didn't make it very far! It was such a nice ride and the trail is beautiful. There aren't many current reviews out there, but don't be concerned with any that you've read that are dated prior to 2005 because so much has changed and improved since then. Everybody was so nice, but make sure to stay out of the ""serious"" riders way. They can be very rude to the casual bike rider. All in all we had a wonderful time and are making it a regular part of our weekends now."
"This is a great trail if you are down in Orlando on vacation to visit Disney (just a few miles away) and need some exercise. I usually park at Clarcona Horseman's park, it's secluded and I haven't had problems there. The ride to Country Line station is about 30 miles round trip, and you can ride fairly fast over much of it (do need to be careful on some portions with curves, road crossings, crowds, etc). Oh, and make sure you don't head toward Apopka, you really don't want to go there, and the indiginants there don't like white bikers! If you want a longer ride, try Van Fleet in Polk city, a fantastic trail and not crowded, and just 30 minutes south of Disney. The Withacoochee bike trail is also really good, but is at least an hours drive west of Orlando on modest two lane state roads. Have fun!"
CENTRAL FLORIDA THE AREA IN BRIEF
Highway to close on 2 nights
December 14, 2006
APOPKA -- -A portion of U.S. Highway 441 will be closed in both directions Saturday and Sunday night while a crew works on the West Orange Trail pedestrian bridge.
The road will be closed between Park and Highland avenues both nights from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., said Orange County Inspector Bruce Johnson. Drivers are asked to follow detour signs.
Henry Pierson Curtis, Willoughby Mariano, Christopher Sherman, Victor Manuel Ramos, Erin Ailworth, Robert Perez and Christine Dellert of the Sentinel staff contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2006, Orlando Sentinel "
"Our bike shop is located at mile marker -0- of the West Orange Trail at Orange/Lake County Line. We rent Cross Bikes, Recumbents and Tandems. Also provide delivery service to local hotels. Visit our website at www.orlandobikerental.com"
"We enjoyed the trail. More inclines than most but very doable. We did not go North of Cleaveland street as we were warned by locals not to. I think Day time or morning would have been safe, am I right? We didn't try it to find out! As you get older you do not look for trouble! We do enjoy rails-to-trails and do use them only in daylight hours...things that you have to think about even at Malls!"
have bladed on my fl trails but this is the best!!!my only negative is the last resurfacing job from lake county line(rougher surface)the old surface was much smoother
"Excellent and fun section. Looking forward to doing both ends. Nice wide trail but some long sunny stretches. The crossover just west of the Chapin Station is a little scary for a novice. Well marked, but scary."
"This trail was such a treat. We were there in early April and it even smelled like orange blossoms. Picturesque towns, a little elevation, and getting off the trail to eat at Choctaw Willy's Unusually fine BBQ in Winter Garden was a treat. Great trail for Kids, older folks, anyone. Well maintained and a good length. Take a day off from Disney World to do it!"
"I rode from County Line Station at mile 0 to Chapin Station at mile 7 and returned. This is an excellent section of the trail with good scenery. It's mostly rual, although there's no wildlife. It's an enjoyable ride. There are no security issues on this section of the trail.
I have also ridden from from Apopka-Vineland at mile 14 to Clarcona Horseman's park at mile 15. This is also an execllent section of the trail as it's a nice area with no security issues.
And I rode from Clarcona Horseman's Park to Apopka. Some of this section is wooded while some is full of sun. Near Apopka I was accosted by youths who threw full Coke cans at me and at other riders. I recommend not riding the Apopka section of this trail. "
"I was one of the first to use this trail when it was only a few miles long and the railhead was in Winter Garden. This was back in about 1995 when I lived in Orlando. These trails are a fantastic idea, and an excellent use of old railroad resources which can now be somewhat preserved. The went end of the trail is very well shaded almost all of the way to the county line. This makes for superior riding even in Florida's warm sun. There are beautiful rest stations at both Winder Garden and the county line. The scenery is incredible and takes you back to the turn of the century as you ride through old towns that seem to stand still in time.
In Florida's early spring the sweet scent of orange blossoms is pure heaven, and a MUST EXPERIENCE for trail visitors. Don't bother picking the oranges since they are sour! In recent years they have opened the next eleven miles heading towards Apopka.
I was vacationing in Orlando and visiting family and had an opporunity to go biking on the new extension. The scenery is still great, but there is much less protection from the sun and less rest stops with cold drinks and/or water. Hopefully they will install more facilities to shorten the distances there, otherwise I recommend bringing a cooling pouch and a few cold drinks if you go in this direction.
Again, the ornage groves are prevelant and smell SO GOOD when the trees are budding. The trail is fairly level -- this being a true old rail roadbed -- and is very easy to navigate even for youngsters. I only went as far as the horsemans park before my sore buns made me turn back and head for Winter Garden. Overall, one of the best trails in the Orlando area, hence its usually crowded, but well worth a visit. "
"This trail is very popular; bikers, hikers, roller bladers, etc. use this trail in abundance. I have seen horses, mountain bikes, street bikes, recumbents, and even the old-time big-wheel bikes on this trail. I have also seen some nasty accidents when parents don't keep their small children confined to one side. Please slow down when passing children.
From west to east, this trail is 22+ miles long, and they are expanding it. The western trailhead is flush against the Lake County line and has ample facilities including bike rentals. The trail trends generally downhill as you travel east, and coming back to the western end can be a grind after a long ride.
About a mile or so east of the western end, you cross the Florida Turnpike over an old rail bridge. Further on you go through the tiny town of Oakland with some spectacular views of Lake Apopka. After 5 miles, you reach Winter Garden which is building a cottage industry around servicing trail users. There is another trailhead in Winter Garden.
From here the trail goes through a steep ravine before leveling off. Two miles later, there is the Chapin Station, another full-service trailhead, more of a park than a parking lot.
From here the trail goes down to a shady stream crossing. After another mile or so the trail begins to wrap around a golf course for a few miles.
Just before you get to 435 there is a Buddhist temple on the right. Don't make the mistake I did and assume it is a trail facility. No public bathrooms, and they don't appreciate shoes indoors.
Around the 15 mile mark, you have an option to either cross the street and continue on the trail, or go left and visit the Clarcona Horseman's Park. It's worth a look, particularly if they are performing some of their dressage exercises. Full facilities.
From here to Apopka, the trail alernates between sunny and heavily shaded.
WARNING: The area just south of Apopka is dilapidated and rough. I would strongly discourage unescorted females from using this stretch.
There is a gap on either side of US 441, but there is another trailhead on the far side, and another three miles of trail. The trail twists behind a nursing home with a good downhill and winds onto a boardwalk behind a middle scholl before finally ending at Welch Road.
Overall, this an excellent trail with something for everyone. The sections beyond the east of the Chapin Station tend to be less crowded. Most of the trail is very shady with a lot of scenic views."
This is a great trail. I can't wait until it crosses 441 to make it continuous. It's getting a little crowded on weekends.
"PHASE 4 WILL ADD 8.7 MILES TO REACH KELLY PARK. SCENARIOS POP UP HERE AT THIS MOMENT. THE NEW TRAIL CALLED THE SEMINOLE WEKIVA TRAIL WHICH RUNS IN SEMINOLE COUNTY OFF OF STATE ROAD 436 AND CAN ALSO BE REACHED ON COUNTY ROAD 46 EXTENSION OF STATE ROAD 46. THE REASON I BRING THIS UP IS THAT THE SEMINOLE WEKIVA TRAIL HAS A PHASE ROUTE HEADING SOUTHWEST TOWARDS THE WEST ORANGE TRAIL. IM NOT SURE IF THE SEMINOLE WEKIVA TRAIL WILL CONNECT THE WEST ORANGE TRAIL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TRAIL. THE OTHER SCENARIO THAT THE WEST ORANGE TRAIL GOING TO KELLY PARK IS NOT VERY FAR TO THE SEMINOLE WEKIVA TRAIL.MAPS SHOW THAT THE SEMINOLE WEKIVA TRAIL SHOW THAT THE NORTHERN TERMINAL GOING NORTHWEST WHICH PROBABLY COULD CONNECT THE WEST ORANGE TRAIL AT ITS ENDING. MAPS ALSO SHOW THE SOUTH PHASE OF SEMINOLE WEKIVA TRAIL HEADING SOUTHWEST TOWARDS WEST ORANGE TRAIL AS WELL. THEIR IS ALSO A POSSIBILITY THAT BOTH MAY BE ACKNOWLEGED AS WELL. NO INFORMATION HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR THE WEST ORANGE TRAIL FOR MORE PROGRESS AFTER THE KELLY PARK, HOWEVER THE WEST ORANGE TRAIL AND THE SEMINOLE WEKIVA TRAIL DO PROPOSE A CONNECTION IN THE NEAR FUTURE.
FEDERAL UNITED STATES 441 NOT A PROBLEM!
PHASE 4 WILL BE ACKNOWLEGED. PHASE 4 OF THE WEST ORANGE TRAIL HAS JUST BEGUN. ORANGE COUNTY HAS DECIDED TO BUILT A OVERPASS OVER FEDERAL UNITED STATES 441. THE TRAIL IS FUNDED AND PAST THROUGH COMMITEE. ONCE IT PASSES US 441 IN APOPKA IT WILL LEAD TO KELLY PARK. PLEASE SEE THE MESSAGE ON TOP.
PHASE 3 IS READY AND DONE
THE WEST ORANGE TRAIL IS NOW A 22 MILE PAVED TRAIL FROM LAKE COUNTY LINE TO APOPKA DOWNTOWN TO A ROAD CALLED WELCH ROAD. THE WEST ORANGE TRAIL HAS A PHASE 4. PLEASE SEE NEXT MESSAGE ON TOP. PHASE 3 IS 2.7 MILES. DONT WORRY, PHASE 4 WILL BE ACKNOWLEDGED. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON PHASE THREE ON THE WEST ORANGE TRAIL, TYPE IN PHASE THREE WEST ORANGE TRAIL (APOPKA WELCH ROAD)IN YAHOO."
"This is a great trail, and it is a nice distance. Great scenery, plenty of stations to stop and chat and get water or air. Great to have it in West Orange County."
"From parking lot at west end of trail on SR 50 (5 miles east of US 27), bike 13.7 miles east, then trail splits. Cross street on your right with stop light (overhead sign says Trail Crossing) and go right for 3.9 miles (somewhat scenic) to Forest and Sixth. Bike 0.3 miles north on Forest (careful crossing route 441, Wendy's, McDonald's, Taco Bell) to nice park at Forest and Second. Then bike 3.2 miles further on new section of trail to end. Turn around and go back to Y. Then take a right to go on the other branch of the Y for 0.9 miles to picnic tables, water, & restroom (nearby building). Then bike back to Y and back 13.7 miles. In Wintergarden, about 5 miles from parking lot, see Downtown Brown's restaurant across street on left of trail. Can eat inside or outside. Round trip is 43.3 miles."
"FROM STATE ROAD 50 THE WEST ORANGE TRAIL STARTS IN LAKE COUNTY AND WORKS ITS WAYS 20 MILES NORTHEAST TO APOPKA, FLORIDA.THE SOUTHERN TERMINAL A PROPOSED ROUTE WILL CONNECT LAKE MINNIOLA IN LAKE COUNTY WHICH EXTENDS 5 MILES TO CLEREMONT FLORIDA.TO THE NORTH OF WEST ORANGE TRAIL THEY WILL TRY TO CONNECT A PROPOSED ROUTE OF THE CROSS SEMINOLE TRAIL AND IN THE CENTER OF THE TRAIL A ANOTHER TRAIL COULD LINK IS THE CADY WAY TRAIL WHICH GOES 3.75 MILES.OTHER TRAILS ARE POSSIBE AS WELL IN SEMINOLE COUNTY. SEMINOLE COUNTY ARE PROPOSING ALOT OF TRAILS THROUGH THE COUNTY. FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE LOOK UP IN YAHOO AND LOOK UNDER SEMINOLE, ORANGE, LAKE COUNTY TRAIL GREENWAYS."
"I skate the West Orange Trail at least once a week. A ""down and back"" trip offers most skaters plenty of distance without having to make an extra run for a good workout. I highly reccomend anyone riding or skating this trail put-in at The Clarcona Horse Stables, behind The Buddist Temple or at the Apopka-Vineland outpost and head south west toward Winter Garden. North of this outpost the trail becomes populated and I've heard horror stories of glass, nails and other damaging materials from others on the trail. If you enter from another out post and follow the trail north east, the horse stables is a good place to turn around. The County Line Station, Winter Garden Station and Crown Point Station's all offer restrooms and cold drink machines.
All-in-all this is a very nice trail for cycling and skating! "
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