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  1. #1
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    Florida - Highest Concentration of Trail Areas

    The future-wife and I have been considering Florida as the next 5 year career development state. Lots of opportunities for both of us down there.

    Luckily we can both get jobs in just about every major city in Florida, but not Ocala

    So, of the major urban areas, which has the highest number of trails within say...a 20 minute drive of downtown?
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  2. #2
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    Tampa area. You have Alafia Sate Park, Loyce Harper Park and Boyette preserve all within roughly 30 minutes of Tampa, depending on what area you live in. You can find a lot of info on the trails at SWAMP Mountain Bike Club Trails in Florida

  3. #3
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    For Tampa you also have the Wilderness Trail parks. It is all easy and intermediate trails but there are a lot of them. My loop is about 30 miles. All the harder trails have been smoothed over or been forgotten.

    Also from Tampa you can shoot up to Santos for some great riding. I believe the full loop there is about 60 miles now.

    Withlacoochee (Croom) should still be good but I haven't ridden there since about 1992.

    Not sure if riding is still allowed but near Croom is Gran Canyon. It is an old limestone quarry that has some very difficult trails.
    Flotilla or Buffet.

  4. #4
    Papa T
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    Tallahasse has 3 trail systems

    1. Tom Brown Park and Cadillac Trails
    2. Redbug Trail and Lake Overstreet trails
    3. Munson Hills near St. Mark's

    Daytona Beach Area has 4 trail within 45 mins driving distance

    1. Spruce Creek Trails at Doris Leeper Preserve (New Smyrna)
    2. Graham Swamp Trail (Palm Coast)
    3. Mala Compra Trail (Palm Coast)
    4. Chuck Lennon Park (DeLeon Springs)
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  5. #5
    DILLIGAF
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    I live in a north Orlando suburb and within 45 min can be at Santos, Chuck Lennon, Mt. Dora Trail and Snowhill. For ref. I can be downtown Orlando in 30 min.

  6. #6
    Formerly PaintPeelinPbody
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    Yea I kinda feel that 45 minutes it too far to drive to ride after work. Frankly, there are lots of places in the US where you can drive 45 minutes to great trail systems, but who has time to do that after work? My ideal city would be someplace with good job opportunities and riding IN the city park system as to avoid traffic congestion. Tallahassee is probably closest to this. Leave work at 4:30, hit the trails by 5:00.

    More importantly, the ability to ride both to work and to the trails from a downtown residence.

    Florida - Highest Concentration of Trail Areas-tallahassetrails.jpg

    I've been mapping all the trails across Florida (and most of the Southeast US) using SWAMP's database, along with local trail clubs.

    Here's a link to the Fusion Table and Google Map that I built.


    If you see that any of my points are not placed correctly let me know. Google tends to geocode based heavily on city name and it struggles to find parks. I've been slowly going through and trying to "fine tune" the map to better represent actual locations of trailheads rather than nearby cities.
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  7. #7
    Jackalope Hunter
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    Tally has some good riding and is a pretty cool town to boot, I lived there for 3 years in the 90s. That said, there isn't nearly as much riding there as in other parts of the state. You might want to rethink Tampa if you are trying to maximize riding and minimize driving... Just my .02
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  8. #8
    Formerly PaintPeelinPbody
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    What other places are around Orlando? I only know of Santos.
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  9. #9
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    If you want to live close to the city but don't want a long commute, you might want to re-think living in FL.

    Otherwise, live East of Tampa- near Brandon -and use the cross-town expressway to commute to work. Drive south to Alafia and Boyette, East to Carter Road, and North a good ways to Ocala.

    I would mention Croom and Wilderness Trails, but I avoid these because they are boring.
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  10. #10
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    Ocala area has santos,30 mins up interstate is san felasco. The trail system at santos may as well be numerous trail systems. Vortex,land bridge,49th street.

    Job wise,gainesville is way better. So you could live in between. Ocala also has a very nice paved greenway for road bike training.

    Tampa is a cluster fudge.....good luck driving anywhere near rush hour,hell anytime at all.

  11. #11
    Just Ride
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    I live in lakeland... Work in Tampa......ride carter, alafia, and, boyette... All great trails
    11/2 hours from santos
    Tampa traffic sucks but you learn how to get around it!

  12. #12
    DILLIGAF
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    What other places are around Orlando? I only know of Santos.
    See post #5.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by msimmons View Post
    See post #5.
    Don't forget Soldiers Creek it's short but 20 minutes from Orlando. They are also building a new trail system near Lake Mary also about 20 minutes to Orlando.

  14. #14
    Just shutup and ride.
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    I'll say Tampa/Brandon as well. I live in Temple Terrace and work in St. Pete. Alafia and Boyette along with Flatwoods paved 7 mile loop with some pretty tame trails at Morris Bridge. Also, Starkey (a bit of a drive) is a new trail currently being worked on.

    You also have the urban get-together/rides with SWAMP and the last Friday of every month is a Critical Mass in downtown Tampa. A little bit of a drive to Santos and Croom and a longer drive to Markham if you so desire.

  15. #15
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    On your map, the Balm Boyette trails are incorrectly located at Riverview, FL. Here is the actual address:

    13998 Balm Boyette Road
    Lithia, FL 33547

  16. #16
    Shortcutting Hikabiker
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    Gainesville is right between San Felasco and Santos, it also has miles of trails right in town and an awesome cycling community.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB51 View Post
    Don't forget Soldiers Creek it's short but 20 minutes from Orlando. They are also building a new trail system near Lake Mary also about 20 minutes to Orlando.
    I live by lake mary. Any info on the new trail? I can help build this summer

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by joboy View Post
    I live by lake mary. Any info on the new trail? I can help build this summer
    Check out sorbaorlando.org for more info on the trails around here. They had a trail building day last weekend.

  19. #19
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    South Florida has lots of trails with in a reasonable drive of each other, particularly if you live in Ft. Lauderdale. There is Amelia, Markham, Oleta, Virgina Key, and Quiet Waters all with in 30 minutes of Ft. Lauderdale if you aren't in rush hour.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayjudy13 View Post
    Tally has some good riding and is a pretty cool town to boot, I lived there for 3 years in the 90s. That said, there isn't nearly as much riding there as in other parts of the state. You might want to rethink Tampa if you are trying to maximize riding and minimize driving... Just my .02
    Theres over a 100 miles of singletrack in the immediate Tallahassee area.

    Redbug, Overstreet, Timberlane School Loop, Miccosukee, Alford Arms, Fern, Magnolia, Cadillac, Lines Tract, Munson, Twilight, and the Forest Loop all rock some great singletrack.

    Lots of additional non-paved multiuse at Phipps, Overstreet, Alford Arms, and Miccosukee to add mileage to singletrack oriented rides.

    Then theres the Apalachicola National Forest(500,000+ acres - largest public lands in Florida), which borders Tallahassee, with literally hundreds of miles of forest roads and double tracks. The St Marks Wildlife Refuge, just south of town with well over a 100 miles of forest road. There are also countless WMAs and State Forests in the area.


    Tallahassee has a ton of trail, concentrated, a lot of it not so much in the eye of the internet forums.

  21. #21
    Jackalope Hunter
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    Like I said, there's good riding in Tally. But quite a bit of what you mention are not dedicated MTB trails... some of us get bored to tears with forest roads. Again, just MY .02

    Honestly there is no "one" place to live in Fl that has it all, the very best trails are spread out all over the state... Living in Orlando, I have to drive WAY to much to get the goods... just sayin
    "That which does not kill you makes you stronger"

  22. #22
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    Yeah, but over 100 miles of pure singletrack all within city limits or within a 15 minute drive. The forest and multiuse stretches are added mileage on top of that

  23. #23
    Formerly PaintPeelinPbody
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    It would seem that Tallahassee has the greatest potential for a dense trail network just outside of town on par with Santos. There is public land within a 7 mile radius in every direction of Tallahassee, with the southeast corner being the only exception. Now if only Tally MTB could get a gigantic loop...
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  24. #24
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    i live in orlando and will tell u for what ur looking for, miami is ur top choice. in miami itself u have amelia earhart, virginia key, and oleta, and just north of miami (~20-30 minutes) u have markham park. one of the parks mentioned near tampa, alafia, is better for highly skilled riders as it is an EPIC, but the others are comparable or below the miami parks' skill levels, and they are further away from the actual city of tampa. miami has the highest density of QUALITY trail riding in WELL MAINTAINED parks for skilled riders - not just a flat trail through the woods, those shouldnt even count unless ur looking for lesiure rides. however, weekday traffic will be an issue in either miami or tampa, so factor that in to ur calculations as well.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by eyejustamazeyall View Post
    i live in orlando and will tell u for what ur looking for, miami is ur top choice. in miami itself u have amelia earhart, virginia key, and oleta, and just north of miami (~20-30 minutes) u have markham park. one of the parks mentioned near tampa, alafia, is better for highly skilled riders as it is an EPIC, but the others are comparable or below the miami parks' skill levels, and they are further away from the actual city of tampa. miami has the highest density of QUALITY trail riding in WELL MAINTAINED parks for skilled riders - not just a flat trail through the woods, those shouldnt even count unless ur looking for lesiure rides. however, weekday traffic will be an issue in either miami or tampa, so factor that in to ur calculations as well.
    I will agree those trails are well maintained, but that's it. Those trails are absolute cake and require little to no technical ability outside of Markham. Even Markham isn't all that difficult. They are great for XC, but anyone looking for technical trails with some elevation change need to look outside of south Florida.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    It would seem that Tallahassee has the greatest potential for a dense trail network just outside of town on par with Santos. There is public land within a 7 mile radius in every direction of Tallahassee, with the southeast corner being the only exception. Now if only Tally MTB could get a gigantic loop...
    One other thing to consider, if quality riding is that important to you, is that in Tally you're 5 - 6 hrs from World Class trail systems in Birmingham (Oak Mtn), Anniston (Coldwater Mtn), and North Georgia trail systems (Pinhotti, Bull & Jake Mtn). Speaking from a guy that is an avid mtn biker living in Pensacola, FL, those day or weekend trips do a great job of quenching the thirst for truly great trails when you're get tired of riding the local stuff. I'd be willing to bet that the frequency of those trips goes down quite a bit if you're adding 3-6 hrs to that drive, which you would be from central or south FL.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    It would seem that Tallahassee has the greatest potential for a dense trail network just outside of town on par with Santos. There is public land within a 7 mile radius in every direction of Tallahassee, with the southeast corner being the only exception. Now if only Tally MTB could get a gigantic loop...
    I have two 100 mile loops, a 160 mile loop, and Im working on a 450 miler...

  28. #28
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    With a 5-year commitment, it would be best to take a few weeks and ride as many of the trails mentioned in posts above and find your preference

  29. #29
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    Wink

    Yep Valrico fl just outside of Tampa has 4 aforementioned parks 15 to 30 minutes away.

    Only Boyette is not kid friendly in case that's included in your 5 yr. plan

  30. #30
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    I used to live in Vero Bch, they had some really good riding trails. But this was almost 10 years ago!

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rider76 View Post
    I used to live in Vero Bch, they had some really good riding trails. But this was almost 10 years ago!
    Are you referring to the ones over by the airport/Dodgertown golf course? I cut some of those back when I moved there in '93 and found the situation to be lacking.
    Flotilla or Buffet.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by yakkoTDI View Post
    Are you referring to the ones over by the airport/Dodgertown golf course? I cut some of those back when I moved there in '93 and found the situation to be lacking.

    I went to two different trails, one was out in a wooded lot, and when I left there in Jan 05' they had just cleared it. The other was neat the edge of Ft. Pierce or it was in FP, and the trail was LONG & hilly, it went under 95. I doubt it's even there any longer.

    I don't recall any trail near Dodgertown. I was in Vero from summer 98' to Jan. 05'.

  33. #33
    DILLIGAF
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    Ft Pierce trail is there and is actually a lot of fun. Check out Airborne MTB club. The trails in Vero were taken out by a hurricane several years ago and never rebuilt.

  34. #34
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    I work in downtown Miami and leave work at 5:30 and I'm riding the virginia key trails by 6. South Florida doesn't have world class trails like some of the other places but Virginia Key, Amelia, Markham, Oleta and Quiet Waters are all within 30 to 45 minutes for me.

  35. #35
    El Gorrrriiii
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    South Florida has a good amount of trails. Oleta River, Amelia, Markham, Virginia Key, Quiet Waters. In addition, Critical Mass in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
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  36. #36
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    PHeller:

    You mentioned no work in Ocala.Can you find work in Gainesville? Bigger than Ocala, more to do etc. Nice town and near lots of great riding. San Felasco 20 min. north and Santos 30 min south. A bit farther and you have Tallahassee or Alafia/ Boyette

    If Gainesville is an option I STRONGLY recommend it. Only problem is taxes are pretty high.

  37. #37
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    PHeller - I would say Gainesville (San Felasco and The Rock are easy after work places, as are the 60+ miles of singletrack in the city, with Santos doable on a weekend) and/or Tallahassee would be ideal. If you need a bigger city, I would say Tampa and live in/around Brandon which would place you really close to Boyette and Alafia.

    Message me if you like. Wife and I lived in FL for years before moving to AZ and now PA. Although FL has some great riding, I can't believe anyone would consider leaving the riding we have here for it. And what's gonna happen over in New Holland if you leave?!?!?! lol

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    The future-wife and I have been considering Florida as the next 5 year career development state. Lots of opportunities for both of us down there.

    Luckily we can both get jobs in just about every major city in Florida, but not Ocala

    So, of the major urban areas, which has the highest number of trails within say...a 20 minute drive of downtown?
    Have you checked out Texas?

  39. #39
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    Have you ever considered Chattanooga TN? I was born and reared in Ocala and went to college in Orlando. I have to say, they are the last places I'd consider moving to. We intentionally moved away from Florida to Nashville. Lots of trails and lots of jobs. Massive strong economy. If I could have, I would have move to Chattanooga, but, my work requires me to be in Nashville.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  40. #40
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    You also have to consider great kayaking/canoeing. That narrows it to choosing Tampa/Orlando corridor or Ft. Myers/Miami.

  41. #41
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    Tallahassee also has excellent kayaking and canoeing... Wakulla and St Marks rivers are both spring fed and lead into the Gulf. You also have Sopchoppy and Ochlockonee rivers. Wacissa is a stones throw away with more springs to explore and the Aucilla is next door to that and it even has a section of rapids Econfina River is just east of the Aucilla. There are also many many creeks and lakes that can be canoed. The Apalachicola is also just west.

  42. #42
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    Ocala has Juniper Springs!
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  43. #43
    Just Ride
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    Atlanta Georgia has it all. I live in florida close to Tampa, but I love going to the ATL all u can handle!

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikensand View Post
    One other thing to consider, if quality riding is that important to you, is that in Tally you're 5 - 6 hrs from World Class trail systems in Birmingham (Oak Mtn), Anniston (Coldwater Mtn), and North Georgia trail systems (Pinhotti, Bull & Jake Mtn). Speaking from a guy that is an avid mtn biker living in Pensacola, FL, those day or weekend trips do a great job of quenching the thirst for truly great trails when you're get tired of riding the local stuff. I'd be willing to bet that the frequency of those trips goes down quite a bit if you're adding 3-6 hrs to that drive, which you would be from central or south FL.
    Yes...I would consider staying further north and even recommend avoiding South Florida in favor of better trails to the North with less driving. Friends in Gainseville tell me about their local trails. That would be a good location. A bit further South you could split the good trails of Tampa area, Ocalla and so forth.

    If you never plan to travel and ride, Fort Lauderdale may be best.
    Urban trails, while fun to ride, just don't have that big feel where you see few riders. Our local trails are more like a supercross track, many laps of the same thing over and over.

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  45. #45
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    Tampa is probably your best option in terms of career stuff and trail proximity. If you live in the Brandon/Riverview area you can be at alafia, boyette and wilderness parks in 20 minutes as well. Then shoot up i75 for croom and santos. Tampa is booming for business and the real estate market here is rebounding nicely (I'm a realtor and own a couple of rental properties in addition to my residence) Tampa also has a GREAT airport. My fiancee travels about 50% of the time for work and it's always a good experience going in and out of TIA. I usually drop her off and pick her up and it seems like every flight is always right on time.

  46. #46
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    I've lived here all my life , in almost 20 years I've never gotten tired of loyce harper aka carter road. Alafia and Balm Boyette aren't far away and Santos makes a nice weekend get away. All FSC races are no farther than a half a days drive , if you're into local racing. jimho south Fl has some seriously muggy weather and tally gets to damn cold lol. not saying central Fl doesn't get hot but , st.pete to melbourne is where I prefer to spend most of my time. either fishing or riding my bike.


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