Biking the Santos Trails for the first time this fall, I opted to leave my vintage Cannondale at home and try a rental bike for my first spin through these famed off-road trails south of Ocala.
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At Carney Island, the breeze carries the scent of orange blossoms from some of the northernmost remaining commercial groves in Florida. Lake Weir is a palatable presence, even though the trails stick to the oak hammocks
Stretching 90 miles from the St. Johns River near Palatka to the Gulf of Mexico, the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway is a mile-wide recreational corridor with hiking, biking, and equestrian trails as well as paddling and boating access.
The history of the Cross Florida Greenway’s birth and the building the Land Bridge – and the Florida Trail – across this new stretch of public land in Central Florida in 1999.
A visit to the Barge Canal Diggings near I-75 after 13 years of the Florida Trail on the Cross Florida Greenway reveals steady changes over the years, shown in a series of photos.
A landmark along Interstate 75 near Ocala, the Land Bridge remains one of the more popular destinations for hikers, bikers, and equestrians on the Cross Florida Greenway.
The Land Bridge section of the Florida Trail has a special place in my heart since I helped create it under the tutelage of Kenneth Smith, ‘Mr. Greenway,’ who retired last year from being a section leader.
In Central Florida, the Florida Trail presents two options: east or west around the Orlando metro. Forested public lands provide protection for much of the route.
43.8 miles. A prime destination for backpacking and day hiking south of Ocala, the Florida Trail follows the Cross Florida Greenway through woodlands between the Withlacoochee and Ocklawaha Rivers
6.7 miles. Between the Land Bridge Trailhead and Santos, the Florida Trail winds its way around horse farms to meander through stands of oaks and pines.
5.1 miles. Anchored by historic Santos and Silver Springs Shores, this narrow strip of the Cross Florida Greenway is a linear woodland in suburbia.
3.6 miles. Bookended by soft sand pines and ancient oaks, this particularly fascinating hike along the Cross Florida Greenway includes a massive dune-like slope and the Land Bridge over Interstate 75.