How does a few miles of open, grassy trails sound? Does the thought of biking down a trail to the banks of the St. John’s River make you want to get out of bed early on the weekend? If that’s the case you should plan a trip over to the Lake Monroe Conservation Area.
What Makes It Great
Located near Sanford Florida, the Lake Monroe Conservation Area is 7,000 acres made up almost entirely of wetlands. The conservation area includes 3 trails of varying lengths. When you arrive, you start off on the Red Trail which is 1.9 miles one way. This trail takes you from the entrance of the park, through the Brickyard Slough Tract and to the banks of the St. John's River.
The Red Trail starts off around the border of the the conservation area and brings you to a fork in the trail. You can either turn left and head towards the Yellow Trail or stay to the right to stay on the Red Trail. If you decide to go to the Yellow Trail, you will enter a 3.3 mile loop. If you include the portion of the Red Trail from the parking lot, you will have a 5.6 mile ride.
The third and final trail in Lake Monroe Conservation Area is the White Loop, located in the northern section of the area near the Kratzert Tract. The White Loop is 1.4 miles in length. Keep in mind that this loop requires you to use a separate park entrance on Reed Ellis Road.
The trails themselves vary from hard packed sand and grass to sugar sand. The trails are wide, which is a good thing, since they are multi-use. As such, keep an eye out for hikers and horseback riders.
The Lake Monroe Conservation Area is a flood plan for Lake Monroe. Because of this, the area is prone to flooding. Make sure you check the forecast leading up to your ride and note how much rain the area has received. If there has been a lot of rain even the grassy areas can get muddy.
Who is Going to Love It
Anyone who enjoys mountain biking will have fun at the Lake Monroe Conservation Area. The trails are easy to ride on, with the exception of thick sand in some areas. Also, the trails are short so beginners can have a quick ride as they learn. Advanced riders, on the other hand, can connect the trails together for a longer loop.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
One of the great things about the Lake Monroe Conservation is that there are no access fees. If you are interested in riding on the Red and Yellow Loop, you will need to head to the park entrance on state road 415 in Osteen, Florida. Once parked, you will start at the trailhead and begin on the Red Trail heading southwest.
If you would like to check out the White Loop you will head to the main park entrance mentioned above, but instead of parking you will go down Reed Ellis road. After a short drive you will see the parking area on the left side of the road.
Also, make sure to bring your own water as there are no water sources at the trailhead.