The West Orange Trail offers just over 20 miles of paved trail for beautiful biking (and all kinds of other uses) through Oakland, Winter Garden and Apopka. The trail was built as part of Florida’s Rails-to-Trails Conservancy along the former Orange Belt Railway, and it’s one of Florida’s most popular rail-trails.
The trail begins at Killarney Station, near where West Colonial Drive meets the Florida Turnpike. There are three other stations along the trail, Winter Garden, Chapin and Apopka, as well as multiple outposts in between those stops, providing plenty of options for parking, restrooms, picnicking, and filling up your water bottle along your journey.
If you’re trying to log serious competitive milage, this may not be the ride for you, since the trail intersects with lots of roads along the way and runs through towns, but it is a fun trip for cyclists of varied abilities, with lots of amenities and plenty to do besides biking.
Don’t have your own wheels? You can rent bikes at the Killarney trailhead or Winter Garden Station.
The best part about the West Orange Trail are all the sights to see along the way. Here are just a few for your to-do list:
Oakland Nature Preserve: This 128-acre preserve is only about a mile and a half from Killarney Station, and it’s a great spot for birders and nature buffs. There’s a shady boardwalk trail out to a pavilion overlooking Lake Apopka, and plenty of opportunities to spot native wildlife. If you plan in advance, you may be able to catch one of the preserve’s monthly paddle tours or family-friendly insect safari hikes. (More here)
Downtown Winter Garden: The trail passes right through downtown Winter Garden, so plan to stop and sample some of the local gems like Crooked Can Brewing, Axum Coffee, Market to Table Restaurant or Moon Cricket Grille. If you’re riding with little ones, cool off at the city’s Interactive Fountain and Splashpad or duck into the Winter Garden Heritage Museum for a quick trip back in time.
Apopka: While it may not have quite as much to offer as Winter Garden, we’re big fans of legit eats, and Apopka’s got ‘em. Check out Tacos Don Pepe’s for traditional tacos on housemade tortillas and Porkie’s Original BBQ for a terrific pulled pork sandwich. Stop in at the Museum of the Apopkans to learn about the town’s history and see how the area has changed over the decades.
Kelly Park and Rock Springs: It’s technically a few miles past the end of the trail at Welch Road, but Kelly Park and Rock Springs are worth the diversion, especially in the summer. For only a few bucks a person, you can cool off by tubing through the gorgeous and 70-degree Rock Springs Run. There’s also camping here, in case you want to make a full weekend out of the West Orange Trail. (More here)
Rarin’ to go? Hit reply and let us know about your favorite local biking adventures, and if you’re out taking on the trails, be sure to tag us!