The Chain of Lakes Trail runs 4.7 miles between Winter Haven and Lake Alfred, following an abandoned route of the South Florida Railroad paralleling US 17. Although the trail runs past several lakes in the chain, the only direct access is at Lake Silver near the Trailhead Park. Future expansion and connection to other regional trails is anticipated. (Map link and photos below)
Map link... Chain of Lakes Trail
Location: Polk County
End Points: Winter Haven to Lake Alfred
Mileage: 4.7 miles
Nearby points of interest: Legoland, Florida Sports Hall of Fame, Fantasy of Flight, Water Ski Museum and Hall of Fame
Bike Shops/Rentals: The Bike Shop (Winter Haven)
The best parking is in Winter Haven at the Downtown Trailhead Park (3rd St. NW; restrooms, playground, splash pad, playing fields). A few blocks south of the trailhead the trail starts at Central Park, then runs under and through the Chamber of Commerce building at Avenue B - the only trail we've seen going through a building! Mostly separated from the road by a wide buffer, except for a section leaving Winter Haven northbound (through an industrial area) and then again approaching trail end. Some depressed areas, we witnessed more daily commuting than recreational biking, but thanks to trail bridges over busy US 17-92 and MLK Blvd, no major road crossings, so mostly a relaxing roll. After crossing MLK Blvd. and over the Lake Conine Canal Bridge was the most pleasant, a wooded section with shade.
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