We are frequently asked about where cyclists can bike on the Florida Trail, especially avid bikepackers. The short answer: it depends.
Definitely not along the length of the entire trail, as you can along much of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail.
Similar to the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail and many other National Scenic Trails, the Florida National Scenic Trail traverses many habitats that would be damaged by the use of bicycles through them. Only foot traffic is allowed in these places.
Florida may be relatively flat, but we have an outstanding amount of habitat diversity with many rare plants. The way water flows across these habitats affects just how fragile the soil can be.
These include urban areas where overuse is an issue and places where erosion control is crucial, where it is necessary not to undo the hard work that Florida Trail Association volunteers put into building and maintaining the trail.
Who Decides Where Can I Bike?
While the U.S. Forest Service manages the Florida Trail and the Florida Trail Association maintains the Florida Trail, the trail crosses public lands overseen by more than 90 different land management agencies.
Access to the Florida Trail on any particular piece of public land depends on the land management policy at that location. As the Florida Trail was developed as a footpath, it often enters habitats with bogs or extremely soft sand, places where bikes would impact the treadway.
Policies for recreation access are set based on the primary purpose for that piece of land – conservation, recreation, or both – and the resources managed, such as endangered plant and animal species.
If the Florida Trail is signposted “Hiking Only” at an entry point, bicycles are not allowed. The use of a “No Bicycles” sign also tells you that a particular piece of the Florida Trail is hiking only. Below are a few examples of such signs.
Where Can I Bike the Florida Trail?
About this Guide
This guide contains our observations on sections of the Florida Trail that are open for bicycling and worth riding, cross-checked against official resources that provide guidelines for recreation on the Florida Trail.
Day touring can be enjoyed on all of the routes explained below. Bikepacking is possible in a handful of locations where designated campsites can be accessed.
As we have the opportunity, we’ll develop additional dedicated web pages for each of these rides. Any and all roadwalk sections of the Florida Trail can be biked, but consider the traffic situation along those roads before you make plans to ride them.
Milepost numbers (MM) are current as of January 2020. There are not actually mileposts along the Florida Trail with these numbers, but you’ll see references to them online.
The milepost numbers and mileages come from our collaborative Florida National Scenic Trail app with Guthook Guides, which works offline using smartphone GPS. Learn more about it here.
Bike-friendly destinations along the Florida Trail are listed below south to north, in the direction most long distance hikers follow the trail, and the way our guidebook The Florida Trail Guide is laid out. Each section refers to a region defined in the Guthook app.
Bicycles are not permitted along the Florida Trail south of Interstate 75 in Big Cypress National Preserve. The National Park Service only permits bicycles on established grades, roads, and ORV trails within the preserve.
MM 30.9, I-75 North Gate. 14.8 miles round-trip. Cyclists are welcome to ride Nobles Grade, a graded limerock road, up to the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation gate and back. Do not enter the reservation without a permit.
Nobles Grade sits above the sheet flow of the swamp and offer views into cypress strands, cypress domes, and vast prairies. Don’t be surprised to encounter extremely large alligators sunning alongside or atop the road.
Water Management Levees
MM 66.1, STA-5/6 Parking Area. 28.4 miles linear northbound, 17 mile round-trip southbound. Cyclists can follow the levees built and maintained by the South Florida Water Management District and used by the Florida Trail to connect to Lake Okeechobee.
These parallel drainage canals through ranches, farms, and sugar cane fields. The STA-5 trailhead off Deerfence Canal Rd makes a good central point for a round-trip ride. Parking is not allowed on the Seminole Reservation.
It is possible to park near the L-1E canal bridge for access to the Miami Canal, although there is no official trailhead there. The Miami Canal levee up to Lake Harbor has a very grassy surface. Fat tires are recommended for any rides in this section of trail.
We don’t suggest riding the jog of the trail north of CR 835. It’s fine for several miles to the 90-degree turn, but not trustworthy after that. It is almost always too grassy and overgrown in weeds, especially sandspurs. CR 835 has high speed traffic but the connector ride is short.
In addition to the levees that the Florida Trail follows, there are others that create cells in Rotenberger WMA, accessible from the STA-5/6 trailhead. Use a satellite map to figure out any of many different loop routes here.
Bikepackers are welcome to take on this section of the trail. Random camping is permitted anywhere along the levees, but make sure you don’t camp atop them.
Herbert Hoover Dike
MM 94.5, John Stretch Park. 112.8 mile loop. Starting in 2003, DEP began an effort to pave the Florida Trail atop the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okechobee to enable cyclists to do an easy century. They labeled it LOST, the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail.
Unfortunately, a year later, the Army Corps of Engineers started work on rebuilding the dike as portions of it failed during the 2004 hurricane season. Since then, it has been impossible to cleanly circle the lake on the loop that the Florida Trail creates.
Hikers and cyclists must use paralleling roads to circumvent the closures. The most extensive and troublesome closures are along the southeast side between John Stretch Park and Port Mayaca. Paralleling roads are narrow and have high-speed truck traffic.
Not all of the route around Lake Okeechobee is paved. One segment remains as it has always been – with grass growing out of rough limestone and muck scooped out of the lake – between Lakeport and the Kissimmee River. Fat tires recommended for that section.
This is a popular section for bikepacking, as there are both many designated campsites to choose from around the lake as well as full-service campgrounds nearby that allow tent camping. Plus lots of restaurants to choose from!
See this page for updates on construction closures around Lake Okeechobee. We update this annually.
Bikepacking South Florida
The longest ride you can do on the Florida Trail as a bikepacker encompasses most of the South Florida region. This full ride is 241.4 miles. Random camping is permitted except on the Seminole Reservation. Most of this route is entirely in the open through agricultural areas.
Start from MM 30.9 at the Interstate 75 North Rest Area and ride up Nobles Grade into the Seminole Reservation. A hold harmless form must be on file in advance with tribal authorities for you to ride the private connector road from the reservation gate to West Boundary Rd.
Follow West Boundary Rd to Josie Billie Rd and ride east through the heart of the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation. Follow the Florida Trail blazes as they leave CR 833 after Big Cypress Landing to access the Water Management Levees described above.
Take the levees north to Lake Okeechobee. Loop the lake as described above. Take the Water Management Levees south to the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation and retrace your route back down to Nobles Grade to your starting point.
MM 150.4, SR 78 Junction. Up to a 30-mile round-trip or 15 miles linear. Follow the levee adjoining the Kissimmee River up the Florida Trail for 8.3 miles to the S-65E Lock.
A road leads from the lock out to SR 70, where a gate has an adjoining stile. Continue as a road ride across SR 70 to Platts Bluff County Park for a 15 mile linear trip, or 30-mile round trip from Scott Driver Park.
MM 166.1 to 201, Kissimmee River. Access to these segments of the Florida Trail are via stiles, and the trail passes through wetland areas. Cyclists will prefer paralleling forest roads and levees as shown on the Kissimmee PUA maps.
MM 213.8, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park. Up to a 49.4 mile round-trip. Access the Florida Trail both southbound and northbound within this state preserve from the trailhead adjoining the park office.
Cyclists are welcome to ride any of the named roads shown on the state park map.
The Florida Trail primarily follows these existing roads, with access to backcountry campsites, making this a decent destination for bikepacking. However, fat tires and experience with mud are a must.
All of the roads on the map are dirt. Some are very tough to ride, with water crossings and deep soft sand as well as churned-up roadbed from swamp buggy tires. Large alligators may be encountered.
For day tripping, Military Trail has the best grade for cyclists. Head southbound along the Florida Trail from the park office to enjoy this ride through the open prairie.
11.4 miles. See why Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is Florida’s only Dark Sky Park along this “big sky” section of the Florida Trail
MM 235.3, KICCO South. 20.2 miles round-trip. From the trailhead outside the gate, ride down KICCO Grade Road all the way to where it ends past the Town of KICCO Campsite and the Tick Island Slough gate.
Expect to encounter free-range cattle throughout KICCO, including bulls. Do not ride on the Florida Trail footpath sections in KICCO where they diverge from KICCO Grade.
MM 247.3, Three Lakes WMA. From this trailhead at the hunt check station, cyclists can ride all of the graded roads within this massive preserve, including the entrance road, but otherwise must stay off the Florida Trail. See the preserve map.
MM 262.8, Three Lakes North. 9 miles linear. The Florida Trail goes over a stile into the northern portion of Three Lakes WMA. Cyclists can use the paralleling Williams Rd to cross Three Lakes North to US 441. Do not ride the footpath here.
MM 296.9, US 192. 20 mile loop. Cyclists are permitted to ride the Florida Trail in Bull Creek WMA. Be aware that deep water crossings, soft sand, and skinny boardwalks are all part of the experience.
The trailhead off Crabgrass Creek Rd provides more parking space as well as access to the network of roads in the preserve, which are hard-packed and provide an excellent place to ride.
MM 334.5, Tosohatchee WMA. 10 miles linear or loop. Cyclists are permitted on both the Florida Trail and the road network in Tosohatchee WMA. It is best to access the trail and road system via any of the trailheads along Fish Hole Rd or Powerline Rd.
A 20.2-mile circuit on forest roads by bike provides a unique perspective on this 31,000-acre preserve along the St. Johns River floodplain in Christmas.
Bridging an immense expanse of pine flatwoods bisected by floodplain forests, a 10-mile segment of the statewide Florida Trail crosses Tosohatchee WMA.
St. Johns River Basin
St. Johns Water Management District has a policy that any part of the Florida Trail posted “no bicycles” is footpath only. In the arc of public lands along the St. Johns River floodplain, this applies along the Florida Trail between Christmas and Oviedo.
Cyclists are permitted to use existing forest roads within Seminole Ranch, Bronson State Forest, and Little Big Econ State Forest via the trailheads used for the Florida Trail, as well as the East Loop and West Loop at Chuluota Wilderness.
At Little Big Econ State Forest, cyclists have an outstanding 12.1-mile network of biking-only trails accessed from two different trailheads along Snow Hill Rd in Chuluota. See map.
MM 368.4, Franklin Street. 21.1 miles linear. Starting with the bike path paralleling Franklin St, the Florida Trail follows a network of paved bike trails for 21.1 miles through Seminole County to MM 389.5.
MM 391.1, SR 46. While currently under construction, a bike path is opening soon which parallels the highway along the eastbound lanes. Once a crossing is available to Seminole State Forest, it will be used by hikers.
Seminole State Forest
MM 392.3, Seminole State Forest. 16 to 32 mile round-trip. Bicycles are not permitted on the Florida Trail in Seminole State Forest. However, there is an excellent network of graded roads paralleling the Florida Trail.
You can use these to ride 8 miles north to SR 44 and the Cassia trailhead. Follow SR 44 east to Royal Trails Blvd north to Maggie Jones Rd west to Paisley, about 16 miles total to the end of the Orlando section at Clearwater Lake trailhead. Do not bike into Camp La No Che.
Central Florida West
From MM 259.5, Canoe Creek Rd, the Florida Trail follows a combination of roadwalk, sidewalk, and bike paths to reach Green Swamp East WMA at MM 320.8.
All of this can be done as a road ride but this is an urban area with a great deal of traffic, specifically through MM 309.6. After that, the trail follows Dean Still Road westbound, a narrow two-lane road with high-speed traffic, through MM 320.8.
Bill Johnston Memorial Pathway
MM 286.7, Partin Triangle Park. 11.8 mile round-trip. Park here and ride the paved Bill Johnston Memorial Pathway through St. Cloud up to Kissimmee Lakefront Park, where you can follow paved paths through the park to MM 292.6.
Van Fleet Trail
MM 324.1, Van Fleet Trail. Up to 18.8 miles round-trip. From the Green Pond trailhead located a mile north of the Florida Trail segment on the Van Fleet Trail, ride southbound to the trail junction at Deen Still Rd for an 8-mile round-trip.
There is no parking at Deen Still Rd. However, you can cross it and continue south to the terminus in Polk City for an 18.8 mile round-trip ride. From here, the Van Fleet trail connects to a larger network of bike paths in Polk County via the TECO-Auburndale Trail.
Cycling is not permitted along the Florida Trail in Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve. However, cyclists are welcome to use paralleling forest roads to explore the preserve. Please see their maps (Green Swamp East and Green Swamp West) for potential routes.
Withlacoochee State Forest
Cycling is not permitted along the Florida Trail in the Richloam, Croom, or Citrus Tracts of Withlacoochee State Forest. Use of their forest roads, which are also popular with equestrians, is welcome. See this map.
MM 372, Ridge Manor trailhead. Up to 36 miles linear. This trailhead provides not just access to the River Trail portion of the Florida Trail in Croom but also to the lengthy Withlacoochee State Trail.
It is a paved bike path that the Florida Trail joins at MM 417.6 to reach MM 432.3, the Gulf Junction trailhead. Since cyclists may not use the Florida Trail between MM 372 and MM 417.6, a ride north on the paved Withlacoochee State Trail is the way to go. It offers many amenities along its route.
Cross Florida Greenway
Along the Cross Florida Greenway, separate trail systems have been established for hikers, cyclists, and equestrians. The Florida Trail is the official hiking route and not open to off-road biking except north of MM 470.2, where it is shared to cross Marshall Swamp.
Cyclists now also have access to a paved bike path along the Cross Florida Greenway between MM 446.2 at Ross Prairie and MM 463 in Santos. Follow signage at either of those trailheads as well as the SW 49th Avenue trailhead and Land Bridge trailhead to access the paved trail.
MM 433.8, Dunnellon Trail. 9 miles round-trip or 4.5 miles linear. A paved segment of trail crossing the Withlacoochee River along the Cross Florida Greenway has the Florida Trail sharing the route with cyclists up to MM 436.3, Bridges Road trailhead.
MM 470.2, SE 64th Ave trailhead. 8 miles round-trip or 4 miles linear. Cyclists can tunnel into a floodplain forest on the tramways and gravel-reinforced footpath that the Florida Trail follows between trailheads in Marshall Swamp.
Because of the very wet nature of the Ocklawaha River floodplain, there are no paralleling forest roads to comfortably ride where the Florida Trail sweeps through Hulls Creek up to Eaton Creek.
Check the Ocala National Forest Motor Vehicle Use Maps to look for potential parallel routes north of where the trail crosses CR 314 at MM 491.
Most of the Florida Trail in this region is off-limits to cyclists. The main exception is the Palatka-Lake Butler Trail, a 47-mile bike path that makes a diagonal through the region. The Florida Trail makes use of it in several locations.
Ocala National Forest
Bicycles are not permitted on the Florida Trail in the Ocala National Forest. you are welcome to ride any of the forest roads listed in the Ocala National Forest Motor Vehicle Use Maps. Download the map to figure out the best paralleling route.
Paisley Woods Bicycle Trail
MM 412.8, Clearwater Lake trailhead. 22 mile loop. The Paisley Woods Bicycle Trail, which parallels the Florida Trail up to Alexander Springs, heads north out of this trailhead. Paisley Woods is the only off-road biking trail in the Ocala National Forest. Learn more.
MM 484.9, St. Johns South trailhead. 8.4 mile round-trip. Cyclists may ride the Florida Trail on the Cross Florida Greenway south from this trailhead and campground adjoining Buckman Lock to Kirkpatrick Dam Road. A short road ride will get you to Rodman Campground for a 5 mile linear ride.
MM 498.1, Palatka-Lake Butler Trail. 44 miles linear. Use this bike path to share and parallel the Florida Trail between Rice Creek and Lake Butler. The paved path will eventually extend to Lake City.
Osceola National Forest
Bikes are not permitted on the Florida Trail in Osceola National Forest except where sharing forest roads. Determine the best route between Olustee and the Deep Creek trailhead by using the current Osceola National Forest Motor Vehicle Use Maps to map your route.
Suwannee Big Bend
As confirmed with Suwannee River Water Management District, bicycles are not permitted on the Florida Trail along the Suwannee River except in the locations listed below.
The Suwannee Bicycle Association has developed an outstanding network of dedicated off-road bike trails along the Suwannee River. Details for their trails and road rides can be found on their website.
Deep Creek to Big Shoals
MM 607.4, Deep Creek trailhead. Northbound from the trailhead, the Florida Trail is a roadwalk down backroads and dirt roads. This a road ride with a forest road at the end of it. You are permitted to ride into Big Shoals from NW Cansa Rd to the Big Shoals overlook, but must turn around there at MM 613.8.
Use Falling Creek Rd south and Lassie Black Rd west to reach US 41 north to continue to White Springs, where the Beast of Burden Trail (green loop on this map) provides a parallel ride to the Little Shoals portion of the Florida Trail.
MM 620.2, US 41 Wayside. 4.5 miles linear or loop. The Florida Trail in the White Springs Tract shares its route with the Bridge-to-Bridge Trail off-road singletrack built by the Suwannee Bicycle Association. Follow the blue blazes rather than orange. See map.
Foster’s Hammock Loop
MM 624.3, Stephen Foster Folk Culture State Park. 8 mile loop. While the Florida Trail is off limits to bikes in this state park, you can parallel the FT on Foster’s Hammock Loop.
Access the loop by riding the road to the cabins and then north on Powerline Rd to the trailhead adjoining the campground. See map.
MM 637, Camp Branch. 3.3 mile round-trip. From the Camp Branch trailhead, the access trail to the Florida Trail may be used by off-road cyclists to visit the Disappearing Creek Loop. However, the Florida Trail is not open to cyclists in this section.
MM 673.8, Ellaville. 12 mile round-trip and loop. Cyclists are permitted to ride the Big Oak Trail, which can be accessed at this parking area or from within the main portion of Suwannee River State Park. Shared with the Florida Trail, it extends compass north (trail south) along the Withlacoochee River to loop a peninsula where the Suwannee and Withlacoochee Rivers meet.
Ellaville Trailwalker Trail
MM 674.2, Coopers Bluff. 3 mile loop. A segment of the Florida Trail from Coopers Bluff to MM 675.3 in Twin Rivers State Forest is open to cyclists and equestrians as part of a loop on Ellaville Trailwalker trail.
Signs indicate where you must leave the FT and join the return loop. Access is via the Ellaville trailhead off US 98. See map.
Suwannee to Aucilla
Between MM 684.9 (River Road) and MM 733.4 along CR 14, the Florida Trail is entirely a roadwalk route between the Suwannee River and Aucilla River.
With the exception of a 6.6-mile piece along SR 53 south of Madison, it is primarily on back roads and lesser used county roads. All of this 48.5 mile segment may be biked as a road ride.
Bikes are not permitted on the Aucilla section, but it is easy to use CR 14 South to Powell Hammock Grade to parallel and rejoin the trail as it becomes a roadwalk again between MM 747.7 and MM 754.3.
Cyclists will need to ride US 98 west – busy narrow road, bike lanes provided – to Newport to enter St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge via Lighthouse Rd. A $2 per cyclist fee entrance applies.
St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
Wilderness Trails & Port Leon
MM 768.4, Lighthouse Road. Up to 25 miles round-trip. Cyclists are permitted to ride any and all of the levee portions of the Florida Trail east of the St. Marks River with the exception of those portions posted as “no bicycles” and “St Marks NWR Wilderness Area.”
This enables riders to head out on the Deep Creek Trail from the Primitive Trails trailhead to the scenic Pinhook River Bridge, return and loop down along the Florida Trail to enjoy the scenic views across Apalachee Bay, where the Florida Panhandle meets the Florida Peninsula.
Any combination of forest roads and levees may be used. Please see the trail maps provided by St. Marks NWR for potential routes.
St. Marks Coastal Loop
Once the Florida Trail crosses the St. Marks River into the town of St. Marks at MM 774.4, it follows two paved bike paths for the next 5.1 miles, the Tallahasee-St. Marks Trail and the Coastal Trail. Using these trails along with forest roads, you can make a 22 mile loop.
Do not ride the Florida Trail west of this loop in St. Marks NWR. It goes through a lot of marshes, swamps, and bogs. Instead, consult the St. Marks NWR maps above for paralleling forest from the Purify Bay trailhead at MM 798.2 and the Carraway Cutoff trailhead at MM 801.6.
Bikes are not permitted on the Florida Trail in the Apalachicola National Forest except where sharing forest roads. Determine your best route to cross this very wet forest along its forest roads by using the current Apalachicola National Forest Motor Vehicle Use Map.
MM 882.1, Depot Park. 8 mile round-trip. Access the Blountstown Greenway from the Depot Park trailhead in Blountstown, where you’ll find restrooms and a picnic area.
While the Florida Trail follows this paved bike path for less than 2 miles, the full greenway extends to both the Apalachicola River and Sam Atkins Park.
MM 947.5, Sand Pond. 5 mile loop. While cyclists are not permitted on the Florida Trail across Pine Log State Forest, this trailhead provides also access to the Faye & Dutch Tiemann Trail, a loop with a similar feel to the FT.
None of the Eglin section of the Florida Trail is open to cyclists. Eglin has a separate trail system – the Timberlake Mountain Bike Trails – which offers outstanding technical off-road bike trails, located just a little north of Fort Walton Beach.
Bikes are not permitted on the Florida Trail in Blackwater River State Forest. However, this is another massive state forest with plenty of forest roads that can be biked.
Forest roads draw close enough to two of the designated camping areas to use them. See their trail map to work out a route for bikepacking.
If you have a fat tire bike or beach cruiser that can handle soft sand, you can ride the beach along Santa Rosa Island to connect the bike paths listed below to ride from Navarre Beach all the way to Fort Pickens, 27.6 miles linear. Fees apply in Gulf Islands National Seashore.
Navarre Bike Path
MM 1080.6, Navarre Bike Path. 7 mile round-trip. Paralleling Gulf Blvd through Navarre Beach, this out-and-back ride starts from the large parking area across from the pier and extends to where the trail ends at a crosswalk into the Santa Rosa Area of Gulf Islands National Seashore.
Pensacola Beach Bike Path
MM 1091.4, Pensacola Beach sign. 9.6 miles linear. Paralleling CR 399 on Santa Rosa Island, this bike path goes through both residential and commercial areas of Pensacola Beach right up to the gate of the Fort Pickens Unit of of Gulf Islands National Seashore.
For ease of access, it’s best to park at the end of this ride outside the the Fort Pickens gate and follow the trail eastbound. Alternatively, you can park at the main beach area under the big beach ball water tower to ride in either direction.
Fort Pickens Trail
MM 1106.2, Battery Langdon. 2 miles linear or 4 miles round-trip. For the final stretch of the Florida Trail between Battery Langdon and Fort Pickens, cyclists share a graded path which was originally established as a military road by Spanish soldiers.
Where the path crosses a bridge and hits the Fort Pickens Campground, continue straight ahead to rejoin the path in front of Battery Worth. The trail ends past the Florida Trail Northern Terminus marker at the parking area adjoining the fort.
Use our new Interactive Map for information about and descriptions of segments of the Florida Trail that we’ve written about that can be biked.
The U.S. Forest Service and the Florida Trail Association have developed a map that shows permitted uses along the Florida Trail, encompassing cycling and equestrian access as well as hiking.
There is a page on the Florida Trail Association website that explains that interactive ArcGIS map and how it works.