I have already ridden the completed sections of the C2C east of Osteen, including paved segments in Brevard and Volusia counties. Today’s ride was from Lake Monroe Park to Osteen and the SR 415 bridge, which covers the next C2C section west of Osteen. The trailhead at Lake Monroe Park is not far from where the future bike/pedestrian bridge will need to be built to connect the paths on both sides of the St. Johns River.
The beginning of the ride is through the Gemini Springs Addition on the southernmost portion of the Spring to Spring Trail, a bike path being built through Volusia County to connect the springs. It starts off on a boardwalk over a small part of a cypress swamp and travels through a shady covered section.
Riding along and under the power lines you can see DeBary Bayou before again ducking under the canopy of trees. Along this route there are unpaved trails into Gemini Springs Park and a primitive campsite tucked into the forest.
Turning east at the trailhead on Dirksen Drive, the trail passes the entry and exit of Gemini Springs Park. With restrooms and a pretty waterfront view, the park will be a great place for future C2C rides to stop stretch their legs and enjoy lunch or a snack at the picnic tables under the shade of the oak trees. Both groups and individuals can tent camp at the park with reservations.
An interesting and historic side trip just past Gemini Springs Park, DeBary Hall was once the home of a European born merchant, Fredrick DeBary, who chose the area for his hunting estate along the St. Johns River. The 8,000 square foot main home, stables and out buildings give you a glimpse into what life was like in the late 1800s along the St. John’s River. And a reminder that the great river was once the hub of transportation for the interior of Florida.
As the trail continues toward the I-4 corridor, there are convenience stores and food services available. Unfortunately they are all on the other side of Dirksen Drive.
The trail passes under I-4 and continues on the trail/broad sidewalk until reaching the edge of Deltona, where the trail once again leaves the road and continues over another long boardwalk on the way to Green Springs in Enterprise. This is where the Spring-to-Spring Trail ends and the East Central Regional Rail Trail begins.
A side trail leads into Green Springs Park, a 36 acre public park that was once a 19th century health resort. Pathways take you to scenic overlooks of the emerald colored springs. Restrooms, a picnic pavilion, and a water fountain are beside the parking area.
These springs are the midpoint for today’s ride. From there you will ride past an Audubon Preserve hidden deep in the woods of Deltona, and the site of the former town of Garfield.
It’s a long straight trail, so it’s easy to pick up speed. Be careful, because along this section of the trail there are a couple of road crossings and private driveways. You’ll pass a couple of lakes and see the wild life they attract. On this trip we watched a black racer dart across the trail, and in the past I have seen deer not far from here.
Our route ended at the bridge over SR 415 in Osteen, completing another 13.9 miles along the C2C.
From here, my my riding partner Billy and I crossed the bridge and turned right on to Carpenter Rd (after missing it and going to Dickson and cutting back a block). It was only a couple of blocks to the back entrance of the Osteen Diner.
After a light lunch and plenty of cold water, we visited the resident goats, cows, and chickens next to the diner and retraced our ride to return to the trailhead at Lake Monroe Park, along the St. Johns. It was a 27.7 mile round trip. You also can do this ride as a linear trip with two cars, of course.
On the next ride, I will find out where the gaps are south of the St Johns River to the Cross Seminole Trail and the Seminole Wekiva Trail, both of which have pieces of them used as part of the Coast-to-Coast Connector.
A 13.5-mile linear trip from Lake Monroe Park to Osteen, or 27.7 to have lunch at the diner and return.