Central Florida does not have a shortage of paved trails for cycling and running, but if you live over in West Orlando you may not know that you have one of the best of these in your own backyard. The West Orange Trail offers 20.8 miles of paved trail for you to enjoy. It’s a great location whether you’re getting in your morning run or ride or training for a long distance race.
What Makes It Great
The West Orange Trail consists of 20.8 miles of smooth, paved trail from Winter Garden, Florida to Apopka. Part of the trail takes you along Lake Apopka, while other sections take you past quaint neighborhoods across Central Florida. The trail itself is 14 feet wide which makes it a great place for running, as cyclists have enough room to pass you without interrupting your run. The trail is relatively flat, but you will hit a few sections that provide ample inclines. These climbs are not enough to make it too difficult, but they do add enough challenge to get you breathing heavier. Your biggest challenge will be the distance. If you’re feeling up to it you can run or ride the entire length of the trail and be just shy of a marathon.
The best part of this trail is the opportunity to enjoy nature along the way. The trail is lined with large oak trees, which provide shade and keep some of the Florida sun off your back. While parts of the trail do go through urban areas, they are broken up by stretches of forested sections.
As with any outdoor activity in Florida, rain and heat can be issues. Luckily there are pavilions located along the trail which can provide shelter from both. Also, make sure to bring water bottles and refill them at water fountains along your way.
Who is Going to Love It
Anyone who enjoys running or cycling will have a great time on this trail. The trail has enough access points so you can choose the best distance for your route. In addition to the trail itself you will find restrooms and water fountains along the way. If you're biking with the family, a great thing to do is strap a picnic basket to your bike and stop for lunch along the trail.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
There are multiple parking lots and access points along the 21 mile trail. Be sure to reference the trail map to find the best starting point for you. The official starting point of the trail is located at Killarney station in Winter Garden and ends at the Apopka station in North Apopka. A good mid-way point is the Chapin Station near Crown Point Cross Road. If you’re starting from the Clarcona Horsepark on the north section, you will start off on a side trail and head south before you meet up with the main trail. Once you’re at the main trail you will have the option of either turning left (north) and going through downtown Apopka, or staying to the right (south) towards Ocoee Florida.