The signs say TECO Auburndale Trail at the north end and the Auburndale Trail at the south end.
The city calls it the Auburndale/TECO Trail. This makes for a little confusion on finding information about it, but the trail itself is pretty straightfoward.
It’s a connector through an urbanizing corner of Polk County, east of Lakeland and north of Winter Haven.
When we visited Auburndale more than 20 years ago, it was still sweetly scented by orange groves surrounding its lakes. No more. Houses are now the cash crop of this region.
What makes this an important trail for the area is its connections. Residents can use it to get up to the Van Fleet Trail, and it connects to a number of side paths to new neighborhoods.
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Southern terminus: Auburndale
Northern terminus: Polk City
Address: 318 Denton Rd, Auburndale
Length: 6.7 miles linear
Restrooms: Flush toilets at Lake Myrtle Park
Land manager: City of Auburndale
Open dawn to dusk. Leashed pets welcome. Surface is asphalt. Sheltered benches are provided as rest stops at regular intervals.
Access points are gated. If the gates are closed, please do not use the trail.
Starting north from the trailhead off Denton Ave, pass by the dog park at the south end of Lake Myrtle Park, and the set of soccer fields connected to the trail by a sidewalk.
Cross Lake Myrtle Park Rd at 0.8 miles into an oak-shaded corridor. There is a parking area adjacent on the right with baseball fields and restrooms.
Pass by a collection of trailside exercise equipment, an adult playground that encourages you to climb, stretch, and jump using these tools.
Crossing Braddock Rd at 1.3 miles, the trail is now obviously a utility easement under the TECO power lines.
This is where the first sign for the “TECO Auburndale Trail” appears.
There is no shade, except in early morning when the wall of trees to the east helps block out the sun.
Pass a bench with a 1.5 mile marker on it. The farm we rode past to the west appeared to be turning into a subdivision, and probably is by now.
This is a long, straight, very monotonous stretch for the next two miles. Just as you come to the bench before Pace Rd, it has a 3.5 mile sign on it.
A side path on the south side of Pace Rd extends east and west. Pace Rd is a four-lane divided highway and the trail crosses it at a crosswalk with no light. Use caution.
A set of greenhouses are on the north side of the road. The trail keeps following the utility corridor.
Passing a swamp forest, the trail grows ever closer to paralleling Berkley Rd (CR 655).
At 4.6 miles there is a trail connector and crosswalk across Berkley Rd to reach a side path heading east along C. Fred Jones Blvd.
At 4.8 miles, cross Mount Olive Rd. There is no crosswalk, so be cautious of traffic turning blindly off Berkley from the north.
A power substation is along the trail just north of the road crossing, an inevitable find given the overhead power lines.
At 5.1 miles, pass under the double overpasses of Interstate 4.
City management of the trail technically ends here at the city limits, but the trail continues north along the power line right-of-way.
While the area to the east south of Clear Lake was farmland when we rode through, we wouldn’t be surprised if it’s now a subdivision too.
It was a wide open space with cattle, and the “Welcome to Polk City” sign on the opposite side of CR 655.
The trail becomes a forested corridor again north of the farm. By 6 miles, it crosses Lakeview Lane, which leads to subdivisions west of the trail.
In this linear stretch, you pass a bench. Trees screen the trail from the road until you see the CR 33 overpass up ahead.
Passing under CR 33, the trail segues directly into the Van Fleet Trail as you reach the Polk City trailhead. It’s a very large and busy trailhead.
The picnic shelter is worth a stop for a break before the return trip. You reach it at 6.7 miles. A vault toilet is another quarter mile north up the Van Fleet Trail.
The miles go by more quickly southbound than northbound along the long power line stretches. It’s a 13.4 mile round trip back to the southern terminus at Denton Ave.
There are two official trailheads along the route, one at each end. But there are also intermediary access points via side paths and places to park.
The southern terminus is along Denton Avenue just outside the southeast corner of the Lake Myrtle Sports Complex.
Inside the Lake Myrtle Sports Complex, parking for trail access is immediately on the right just past the baseball diamond, or at the very south end of the park road at the soccer fields.
The northern terminus in Polk City is the southern trailhead for the popular Van Fleet Trail, with a large amount of parking and a picnic pavilion.
Van Fleet Trail
The north end of this trail blends seamlessly into the General James A. Van Fleet State Trail at Polk City.
A 29.2 mile linear trail with a very different feel than the ride up to it, it follows the old Seaboard Coast Line route through the Green Swamp.
See our photos from biking the TECO Auburndale Trail
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Camping beneath the twinkling stars at Colt Creek State Park, enjoy a getaway from the busy bustle of the Interstate 4 corridor between Lakeland and Tampa