Today marks a turning point! We are now adding bicycle paths and paddling in Florida to our website. While Sandy labors away on the computer, finishing up the new Florida Trail guide, I have given myself a new assignment: exploring local rail-trails. It will get me back out on my bike, and give Sandy a quieter work environment.
I broke out my vintage Cannondale Killer V, a fully suspended mountain bike, and started riding and GPSing the trails near where we live. Many are are family-friendly paved pathways devoid of all motorized vehicles. Great for relaxing and safe riding. You can walk or run them, too.
I started with a trail on the north side of Lake Monroe at Green Springs Park in Enterprise, the East Central Regional Rail Trail, or ECRRT. On Volusia County’s map for the trail, they show Green Springs Park as the main trailhead for this trail under development. It’s also a trailhead for the Spring to Spring Trail.
Entering Green Springs Park there was no sign telling me that I was at any trailhead. Locating a sign with a map of the park, there were two other cyclists trying to decide if they were at the right location for the ECRRT. It was the first visit for all three of us.
The map showed a blue paved path to a rail trail. It didn’t tell us what trail, only that there was going to be one there.
Riding across the parking lot, I met another lady unloading her bike. She was also questioning if we were at the correct location for the Rail Trail. I told her yes, but I couldn’t tell her which one.
The paved path ambled through the park, past two walkways to overlook the springs, and another walkway to the playground. Out a gate, I reached a T intersection. Here, I found the trail marked for the first time.
To the left was the Spring to Spring Trail. To the right the East Central Regional Rail Trail. Having read that one day the trail to the right would allow me to ride all the way to both Titusville and New Smyrna Beach, I turned right toward the coast.
The path is well-marked and maintained, with lanes for east and west travelers. I wasn’t far down the trail when I came across a bench, a trash can and a bike repair station. The bright red pipe serves as a repair stand, tool box, and was equipped with an air pump which could be used for both Presta and Shrader valves.
With all of my years of riding, this was a first! Back home, I brought up the website on the repair station and find a wide assortment of bike “how-to’s,” from simple repairs to the adjustments required to properly position yourself while riding.
As part of the old railway, the trail was nearly arrow straight, with only three road crossings. Each was well-marked and had a stop sign for cyclists. Along the path, there were a few other ‘road’ crossings, but these were nothing more than long driveways equipped with stop signs in both directions for the motorized vehicles. Bicycles were treated as through traffic.
You ride past a home now and then. But most of the trail is lined with woods and pastures, with a few small lakes or ponds.
After five miles you reach the “Trail Ends” signs. As the pavement stops, you can see an unpaved path going up a slight hill in front of you.
Unless you just need to ride a very short unpaved part, don’t waste your time. It dead-ends along SR 415 in Osteen. If you do make the side trip, you will be rewarded with a convenience store to visit at the end.
It’s here where my trip towards the coast ends. The remainder of this path is still under “development.” Which means that for now, it’s nothing more than an unfunded dream. Someday, it will continue to the former town of Maytown, joining the East Coast Trail north and south between Titusville and New Smyrna Beach.
Round trip, the ECRRT is an easy ten mile trip. I returned back to the trailhead in Enterprise, one of Florida’s oldest interior towns and a destination where steamboats unloaded and turned around to return north up the St Johns River in the 1850s. To add a few more miles, I continued west on the Spring-to-Spring Trail until the pavement ended, then turned around to finish up at Green Spring Park.