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A paved multi-use bike trail, El Rio Trail runs mostly along El Rio Canal and a power line for 4.8 miles through Boca Raton. This well-kept trail is an easy ride and except for road crossings, well away from the roadway. From what we observed, it's very popular with the locals, offering a link to and from Florida Atlantic University (FAU), neighborhoods and businesses, and the Tri-Rail Station. In addition to commuting, it's also a pleasant recreational ride. Wildlife includes a variety of birds and a few gopher tortoises. Plenty of invasive iguanas were evident as well. Benches and water fountains are at regular intervals. Thanks to the trail's north-south orientation, parts are nicely shaded and wind-sheltered at times. Directional markers are helpful. Underpasses at I-95, the railroad track, and Yamato Road are nice features, but some road crossings remain. (Map link and photos below.)
Map link... El Rio Trail
Location: Palm Beach County
End Points: Glades Road to Congress Avenue
Mileage: 4.8 miles
Surface: Paved asphalt
Nearby points of interest: Florida Atlantic University, beaches (Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Deerfield Beach), Yamato Scrub Natural Area (hiking)
There are no dedicated "trailheads," but at the trail's south end, online comments speak of parking at businesses along Glades Road. Paid parking is also available at FAU public lots. In the middle, at the Tri-Rail Station, parking is free but located on the opposite side of the railroad track, so parking here involves using the elevator and overpass to reach the trail. To the north, the trail ends along the Gulfstream Canal - the boundary with Delray Beach. Another option for parking is to continue north on Congress Ave. 0.2-mile to Delray Oaks Natural Area. Overall, while just under 10 miles roundtrip, we rate the El Rio Trail as one of the more a pleasant, in-town bike rides in Southeast Florida.
Starting at Glades Road, El Rio Trail runs along the canal and a power line and past Florida Atlantic University. At about 1.25 miles the trail crosses the canal with some scenic views from the bridge. Road crossings in this section are at NW 20th St. and Spanish River Blvd. - use the crossing signals. Approaching the Tri-Rail Station, the trail goes under I-95.
Just past I-95 is the Tri-Rail Station. A side path runs across a bridge over the canal from the trail to the station. Benches and a bike fix-it-station are by the bridge. The Tri-Rail Station also provides bike lockers.
Continuing on the trail, underpasses at the railroad track and busy Yamato Road are bonuses. Road crossings in this section are Commerce Blvd., Clint Moore Road, and Congress Ave. - again, use the crossing signals. Between Clint Moore and Congress, the trail goes past the Yamato Scrub Natural Area - 215 acres, hiking but bikes not allowed. About 0.25-mile past Congress Ave., the El Rio Canal meets the Gulfstream Canal (C-15). Here the trail takes a sharp right to follow the Gulfstream Canal, ending in 0.4-mile back at Congress Ave.
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