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"Eco-biking"... Eco-tourism on a Bicycle

Florida Eco-biking Reports... Maps, Photos

Florida Parks and Preserves offer a wealth of natural eco-tourism opportunities. There are many unpaved (and some paved) trails on public lands where eco-tourism can be enjoyed on most wide-tire, recreational bicycles, (not recommended for road bikes). Eco-biking is not "mountain biking." We seek out the easier unpaved trails and try to avoid the physical challenges of deep sand and roots that test avid Florida mountain bikers. Below is a list of some natural Florida places that we've explored. (There are many more). In Florida, "eco-biking" has certain advantages.

  • Helps to avoid mosquitos and other biting insects, as you are moving faster than if hiking. A good example is when eco-biking in the Everglades.
  • Explore more territory faster, allowing time to linger longer in the better spots. Perfect examples are when exploring the sights in many Florida State Parks.
  • Eco-biking typically provides a better field of view, while standing on the pedals can give the rider additional elevation.

Florida Eco-biking Reports

Over 25 Trail Reports... By Region, from North to South

Note: trail conditions vary from year to year, and are subject to closures.

North Florida Region

9 Trail Reports


Goethe State Forest Goethe State Forest - The 53,000+ acre forest includes 5 recreational trail systems with over 120 miles, and activities include hiking, mountain biking, equestrian riding, camping, picnicking, wildlife viewing.

View trails, map, and 55+ photos


Inglis Island Bike Path Inglis Dam Recreation Area - Part of the Cross Florida Greenway, includes a 2.5 mile paved trail, plus 7.5 miles unpaved (grassy) trail for fat-tire biking, hiking, and horseback riding. Views of lake, river, dam, canal and locks.

View Trail, map, 40+ photos


Lower Suwannee National Wildlife RefugeLower Suwanee National Wildlife Refuge (Overview) - .4 locations within the Refuge:

- Dixie Mainline Trail - 9 miles along Florida's Big Bend
- Nature Drive - 9 mile limestone road suitable for biking, varied habitat and wildlife
- River Loop Trail - 3/4 mile loop trail with boardwalk and views of Suwannee River
- Shell Mound - Archaeological site, 1/2 mile hiking trail to the Mound

View Trails, Maps, Photos


Cross Florida Greenway Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway - Extends 110 miles from the St. Johns River to the Gulf, along the former Cross Florida Barge Canal. 31 miles of paved bike trail sections, 36 miles of the Florida National Scenic Trail.

View Trails, map, 100+ photos


Paynes Prairie State Preserve Payne's Prairie Preserve State Park - Just north of Micanopy and south of Gainesville. Park roads open to biking. Also five sandy trails, totaling about 20 miles. Paved Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail (a FL Top 10) goes through north section.

View Trail, map, 40+ photos


Woodpecker Trail Woodpecker Trail - Located in Big Shoals State Park along the Suwannee River, a 3.4 mile paved bike trail. In addition, there's about 28 miles of unpaved trails for biking, hiking, and horseback riding.

View Trail, map,18+ photos

West Florida

3 Trail Reports


Aldermans Ford Conservation Park, Alafia River Alderman's Ford Park Trail - This moss-draped, 2-mile paved trail at Alderman's Ford Conservation Park (Lithia, FL east of Brandon, south of Plant City) was a pleasant find while checking out kayak launches on the Alafia River.

View trail, map, and 10+ photos


Chassahowitzka WMA Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area - On Florida's Gulf Coast, 15 miles south of Crystal River. A 9-mile self-guided tour is laid out for cars and bikes. More and maybe better biking on the WMA's side roads.

View Trail, map, 40+ photos


Myakka River State Park Myakka River State Park - Near Sarasota. Up to 7 miles (one-way) of biking on the paved park road, plus unpaved options and hiking trails. One highlight is the Canopy Walk, a suspended walkway 25 feet above ground through the hammock to a 74-foot viewing tower.

View trail, map, and 55+ photos

 

 

Central Florida

9 Trail Reports


Circle B Bar Reserve Circle B Bar Reserve - On the northwest shore of Lake Hancock in Polk County, this popular Reserve is a former cattle ranch. Its 1,200 acres have been restored to natural wetland habitat, with up to 7 miles of trails. Many birds and alligators.

View Trail, map, 35+ photos


Lake Apopka Loop Trail Lake Apopka Loop Trail - In the Lake Apopka Restoration Area, the trail runs about 18 miles, the most scenic being along the north shore of Lake Apopka. Some lakeshore trail shared with cars (Wildlife Drive, open Fri., Sat. and Sun only).

View Trail, map, 75+ photos


Lake Jesup Conservation Area Lake Jesup Conservation Area - Established to protect water resources around Lake Jesup, the Conservation Area consists of 3 separate sections, most best for hiking, some eco-biking, equestrian riding.

View Trail, map, 15+ photos


Lake Luisa State Park Lake Louisa State Park - This State Park features bikes lanes along the 7-mile paved main road, plus 20 miles of unpaved multi-use trails. Billed as a "natural theme park" close to Disney World, there are activities here for just about everyone. Popular for camping. A local favorite for cyclists.

View Trail, map, 90+ photos


Lake Norris Conservation Area Lake Norris Conservation Area - 5.5 mile multi-use trail near Eustis, FL. Best biking at the East Trailhead, most of trail better suited to hiking and equestrians due to sand. Popular paddling launch onto Blackwater Creek from the East Trailhead.

View Trail, map, 40+ photos


Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge - Popular in winter for bird watching. Near DeLeon Springs, Volusia County. Over 15 miles of unpaved trail for hiking and biking. Great sunsets. Mostly grassy or hard-packed, but avoid when wet. (The wet clay here dries like cement on tires.)

View Trail, map, 15+ photos


Orlando Wetlands Park Orlando Wetlands Park - Orlando Wetlands Park is a 1,650-acre, man-made wetland loaded with wildlife, a good spot near Orlando, FL to see an alligator. Biking is on the wide earthen berms, 18 miles total, popular on cool weekends.

View Trail, map, 45+ photos


Seminole State Forest Seminole State Forest - Gated entrance to drive in (get code from Forest Service). This helps to make this a more peaceful preserve, while close to a growing urban area. Hard-packed dirt roads, one of the best State Forest rides. Two picnic spots by Blackwater Creek.

View Trails, map, 100+ photos


Wekiva Springs State Park Wekiva Springs State Park - This popular State Park near Orlando is best known for swimming and snorkeling at Wekiva Spring, but has much more to offer including more than 30 miles of off-road trails for eco-biking and hiking.

View Trail, map, 90+ photos

 

East Florida

2 Trail Reports


Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge - Established in 1963 as a buffer for the Canaveral (John F. Kennedy) Space Center, famous for bird watching. Fewer eco-biking options today as priorities change, but hikes remain.

View Trails, map, 80+ photos


Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area - Along the St. Johns River, near Christmas, FL, east of Orlando. Hiking trails, plus miles of mostly hard-packed WMA roads, but plenty of sandy spots too. Areas of old growth, river and lake access.

View Trail, map, 60+ photos

South Florida-East

2 Trail Reports


Jonathan Dickinson State Park Jonathan Dickinson State Park - At 11,500 acres Jonathan Dickinson State Park is a real treasure with something for everyone - biking, paddling, hiking, camping, picnicking, wildlife viewing, horseback riding, and more. The park roads are bikeable, plus there are paved bicycle trails and scenic nature trails.

View trail, map, and 22+ photos


Riverbend Park biking Riverbend Park - This 680 acre Palm Beach County park features 10 miles hard-packed biking trails (rentals at Park), 7 miles of equestrian trails, 5 miles of kayaking/canoeing trails on the Loxahatchee River, and picnic facilities. A popular spot for families on weekends.

View trail, map, and 15+ photos

Everglades National Park

Multiple eco-hiking and biking locations in Everglades National Park


Shark Valley, The Everglades, Top 10 FL biking, FL eco-biking Everglades Eco-biking - Unpaved biking trails in Everglades National Park (south entrance), plus some historic old roads, and countless miles of dirt and gravel trail on canal levees in Preserves near the National Park.

View Trails, map, many photos

 

Difference between "Mountain Biking" and "Eco-biking" in Florida

There are no mountains in Florida, but plenty of "mountain bike trails" where soft sand and roots replace rocks and gravity, making traditional "mountain bikes" the best, and sometimes only choice for biking. For those who crave the twists, turns and jumps of true mountain biking, such trails have been built in parks and even urban areas of Florida, often maintained by dedicated bike clubs.

Most trails in our reports do not require a "mountain bike" and can be ridden with wide-tire recreational bikes, comfort bikes, or even hybrids. What others may view as challenging and entertaining "mountain bike trails," we use, enjoy, and report as "hiking trails." We'd rather be cruising and watching for deer and other wildlife, not watching out for giant roots, or the next tree straight ahead. We're eco-biking!

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