Following a route where railroads once carried citrus to market, the West Orange Trail now winds through communities built around and atop those former orange groves.
Between the 1920s and 1960s, Winter Garden was a bustling citrus shipping community, at one time the largest in North America.
Orange County gets its name from the industry that made its mark here. Along the West Orange Trail, you’ll encounter historic markets and exhibits that recollect the past.
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Location: Oakland to Apopka
Length: 20.8 miles
Land manager: Orange County Parks
Address: 501 Crown Point Cross Rd, Winter Garden
Open sunrise to sunset. Surface is asphalt. Leashed dogs permitted. This is an urban day use trail.
A portion of the trail north and south of Clarcona is adjoined by a treadway for equestrians, as indicated on the map.
The Clarcona Horse Park is the only equestrian trailhead.
RV and tent sites are available at the Clarcona Horse Park for equestrian use. No other campgrounds are along the trail.
Now Orange County sprouts more new houses than orange trees. Since the trail’s western terminus was dedicated in 1994, its surroundings have changed.
Grand old oaks still define much of Oakland, and downtown Winter Garden is a joy to bike through.
It’s here that the trail is at its showiest in an urban space, as it was incorporated into a park right through the middle of downtown.
It passes the Tavares & Gulf Railroad depot, built in 1913, which houses the Central Florida Railroad Museum.
Once you get beyond Winter Garden, the trail is largely shielded from its changing surroundings by a long-standing tunnel of trees.
That changes north of where toll road SR 429 passes overhead. Here, groves and forests have been bulldozed for densely packed subdivisions.
While there is still a greenway feel to the trail as it heads north from Clarcona, you ride through residential areas before topping the bridge over US 441 in Apopka.
Although the ride mileage includes the trail’s extension up to Welch Rd in Apopka, there is no trailhead at that end of the path.
Stop at Apopka Station for an 18.2 mile linear ride (36.4 mile round-trip).
Or add on another 5.2 miles (round-trip) by exploring the rest of Apopka along the trail north of Apopka Station.
Numerous trailheads along the route let you lengthen or shorten the overall trip to your own abilities.
If you run into an emergency on the trail, call 911 with a rough idea of the mile marker and location number you are near.
Bike rentals are currently available at two locations at the southwest end of the trail: the Killarney Station terminus and Winter Garden Station.
At Winter Garden Station, Wheelworks (407-877-7433) offers rentals and has bike gear for sale. In downtown Winter Garden, you’ll ride right past their store.
At Killarney Station, West Orange Bikes and Blades (407-877-0600) had a rental fleet sitting outside when we visited. The owner offered us a trail map when we walked by.
They also sell bikes, stock tires, and carry a supply of gear for emergency repairs. An air pump is available. And yes, there is ice cream.
|Killarney Station||17914 SR 438||Oakland|
|Oakland Nature Preserve||747 Machete Trail||Oakland|
|Oakland Outpost||230 N Tubb St||Oakland|
|Tildenville Outpost||1064 Tildenville School Rd||Winter Garden|
|Winter Garden Station||455 E Plant St||Winter Garden|
|Chapin Station||501 Crown Point Cross Rd||Winter Garden|
|Ingram Outpost||5995 Ingram Rd||Orlando|
|Apopka Vineland Outpost||5794 N Apopka Vineland Rd||Orlando|
|McCormick Outpost||58058 CR 435||Orlando|
|Clarcona Outpost||3535 Damon Rd||Apopka|
|Apopka Station||111 S Forest Ave||Apopka|
|1.4||Oakland Nature Preserve|
|5.2||Winter Garden Station|
|13.8||McCormick Outpost (0.2W on side trail)|
|13.8||Clarcona Outpost (0.9W on side trail)|
Coast to Coast
Between Clarcona and Oakland, the 13.6 mile stretch of the West Orange Trail that centers on Winter Garden is also part of the statewide Coast to Coast Trail.
To the west, the West Orange Trail seamlessly becomes the Lake Minneola Scenic Trail which turns into the South Lake Trail, making a beeline across Lake County through Monteverde, Minneola, and Clermont.
To the east, the Coast to Coast connection is the yet-as-unfinished corridor through Clarcona to Pine Hills.
Apopka to Rock Springs
Although it is not shown on the official Orange County map of the trail, the bike path continues north from Welch Rd in Apopka (Publix) parallel to Rock Springs Rd (SR 435).
Right now it makes it another half mile, up to Lester Rd. From there you can follow a sidewalk north another 3 miles to Kelly Park Rd.
Ride 0.6 mile east on Kelly Park Rd, sharing the dead-end, to get to the entrance to Kelly Park.
Kelly Park is a popular Orange County park that is home to beautiful Rock Springs. It offers tent camping, hiking, swimming, and tubing the run.
Lake Apopka Loop Trail
Long-range plans also incorporate that portion with connectors to Magnolia Park and Green Mountain to create an actual loop for the Lake Apopka Loop Trail.
Signs for the Lake Apopka Loop Trail have been in Oakland for almost a decade. But those connections are tougher to make.
If you’re willing to ride the roads, braving traffic, narrow highways, curves, and hills – especially in Lake County – you can certainly circle the lake during daylight hours.
See our photos from biking the West Orange Trail
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Protecting more than 128 acres along Lake Apopka, Oakland Nature Preserve offers an accessible boardwalk through marshes to the lake and uplands trails to explore