8 Best Mountain Biking Trails in Florida

Florida is best known for its beaches. The state also has some of the best mountain bike trails in the entire country. The state has energetic mountain bikers. People gather from around the globe to experience this. Winter is the best time to ride bikes when the beaches are cold.There are no long climbs and alpine vistas in Florida. However, you will experience tight, twisty, technical trails carved creatively into rock quarries. You will also ride through rolling forests and sandy hammocks. In Florida, there are swamps and artificial features. There are also big alligators. This makes Florida an interesting to ride while on a family holiday. We are going to discuss the best mountain biking trails in Florida.

1. Santos

Santos
©Singletracks

Santos is located in the Ocala area. It is designated as the first International Mountain Biking Association Bronze ride center. It is a part of the Cross Florida Greenway system maintained by Ocala Mountain Bike Association.

The difficulty ratings are marked by colors: green for beginners, blue for intermediate and red for advanced. To add the mileage, you can ride on both the blue and the red ones. It is possible to ride for 50-70 miles if you connect the trails correctly. The red trails are carefully bench-cut into dirt and rock quarry. Some require experience to maneuver around.

The trail has a lot of log and wooden features. There is also a lot of big jumps. Vortex nestled is a dirt jump park in the center of the red trail system. The highest jump is 25 feet. 

The Ocala Mountain Bike Association organizes a Fat Tire Festival every spring. Riders enjoy beers, prizes, food, night rides, and a 50-mile supported day extravaganza. You can camp at a trailhead for a fee. You can access bike shops that rent bikes. Santos bike shop and Greenway are some bike shops in the area.

To start the ride, come with fresh legs, stay well hydrated since the trails are hot.

Keep an eye out at intersections, as the equine trails and hiking trails often intersect with the biking trails. The highest jump is up to 25 feet, and there are many more jumps along the way. There are more jumps in the area.

Imba red is a 2-mile single-track used by advanced bikers. Check out for rocks, ladder ramps, and other technical obstacles. The steep hills have lookouts to avoid surprises. It is the longest Red trail in Santos.

Anthill is another trail that is great for advanced bikers in Santos. The trail is rocky and steep.

Ern N Burn is a 3-mile single-track trail. It’s not a loop. In this route, there are dips, climbs, and tight turns to add mileage.

Check on your speed. If you need to rest and take some water, you can stop at Ross Prairie Trailhead.

2. Markham Park

Markham Park

Markham Park is the next best mountain trail in Florida. It is a 10-mile single-track best for advanced bikers. There are lakes in the area so expect bumpy and challenging rides. This park is 30 miles north of Miami.

Look out for obstacles (they are not always visible). Before you start riding, you have to buy a pass, watch a video and sign waiver because of the trail’s technicality. You can also buy an annual pass. The area experiences a lot of rain, so be careful. The rain can also make riding impossible.

The trail is rocky. There are a lot of points to ditch the trail and get to an easier ride. Club Mud maintains the trail and features like jump and drops. The community support is excellent in maintaining a trail system. They rebuild and reshape trails and its features. The maintenance is done every first Saturday of the month from 8.30 am.

If you are looking for an Expert-level trail, give the Gun Range a shot. Gun Range is a single-track loop which is a double red-diamond trail. Be ready for a one-mile exhausting ride with challenging climbs and many roots and rocks at every turn. There are restrooms, winter-fat biking, and drinking water available along the trail.

3. Chuck Lennon Park

Chuck Lennon Park
©Floridahikes

Chuck Lennon Park has impressive mountain bike trails. It is located in Florida. This intermediate area is small but has five tracks and a dirt jump area. The park has a bike wash meant for beginners.

There is the newest trail called Wild Turkey. The trail will put you to test with bridges, small drop and switchbacks. Keep an eye on drops and smooth turns. The trail has great wood features. All the features are labeled well and have bailouts.

You are not allowed to ride at night. The park closes at sunset on a general basis. You can only ride at night if there is a ball game in the area. Call earlier for enquiries. 

The Raccoon Run and Screaming Hawk are designed for difficulty level. The area was initially covered with ravages of Hurricane Matthew. It later recovered, and all trails are now open.

Seven one-way trails make up the ride. The labelled directions change daily, so be on the lookout. The ride starts from Hoot Owl at the north end of the parking lot. The trail is a single-track, which will take you through the trees.

4. Alafia River State Park

Alafia River State Park
©Florida State Parks

The Alafia River State Park trail system is off-road biking in Florida. It is a more than 20-mile single-track trail. Riders come from all over the state for a ride in collecting rolling terrain, harrowing drops, off-camber hillside ledges, high speed banked turns, and intimidating ridge top trails. These trails are built on the rugged terrain where there was once a phosphate mining site. This helps in forming the park’s unique trail features.

Three most comfortable (green) trails connect to form the ‘Easy Loop’, an 8-mile one-way trip. The ‘Easy Loop’ has signs for River Loop to Rock Garden to Sand Pine. The trails have elevation changes and can be easily accessed from the trailhead parking area. All three trails can accommodate children with small bikes and can be ridden with city bikes. 

For the intermediate riders (blue), the trails have Bridges, North Creek, and a Roller Coaster. The trails are fun with medium-sized hills, from short and steep to more gradual, for speedy downhills. 

For advanced riders, there are challenging optional sections on the blue trail. They include sudden drops, climbs, twists, and turns.

Start your ride at North Creek Trail, which is best when the creek is flowing. The trail is solid, fast, and flowy, but there are hard options that loopback. You can skip the Buzzard Bay, which is smelly.

From the North Creek Trail are the Bridges and Shelly’s Loop. They are short but in a big rush. Turn over to Frank’s Loop and try the challenging incline through a rock box. Keep on riding to hit OAF and Garden Ridge. Garden Ridge is a two-way trail. 

Cross over the second half of bridges (North Bridges) before crossing two long slender bridges. You will reach a challenging lattice climb after. Here, the ride is challenging and a step-up jump.

Head towards the Rollercoaster, then take a quick bypass on the three Rabbit Ears. The Rollercoaster starts slow through a twisty and well-shaded area. You will then get to the roller section. This section is full of ups and downs.

You will end up at a pump track through the woods called the Red Dragon. Here, there are pumps, berms, and jumps that you can handle. The jump is a 4 feet gap. There are three hard options and a tabletop jump.

5. Balm Boyette Scrub Preserve

Balm Boyette Scrub Preserve
©MTB Project

Balm Boyette Scrub Preserve is built on an old phosphate mining land in Florida. The trail starts with an easy warm-up. All the intermediate trails are fun, fast, and flowy. Bring water and map with you. Everything in the park looks the same. This is the reason for the map. It is advisable to be accompanied by a local to show you around if you are a tourist. You can repeat trails like Ridgeline, Spider Berm (Lower) and the Abyss trails. Pandemonium is another expert trail which is not labelled. The trail causes backtracking.

Start the ride from the parking lot, ride north on the double-track across the field. When you are I the woods, follow the double-track eastward. Take the left trail; pass the first entrance into Southwest. Follow the trail until you see the entrance to the northwest on your left. You will find a sign labelled ‘Trail In’.

You will hit a couple of forks on the trail. Turn right both times. When you get out of the trail, you will head straight to the small bit of double-track. Drop in at the entrance of Nemesis.

While keeping left, head down the hill and around the corner. Take a right to the West Meadow. Go straight up to the Randy’s Trail.

Keep riding, and you will see a Spider Berm (Lower) around the lake. Near the beginning of the trail, there is a small expert option called Chaos. To hit it, stay right. To skip it, keep left. The trail splits on the far end of the lake. To continue, stay left on Spider Berm (Lower) on the opposite side of the lake.

Be careful of sugar sand at the little dip. Stay right. Follow the signs up to Gator Pit and Golf Cart. Go straight down the hill to start Gator Pit. To get to the Golf Cart, ride straight from the beginning of the small loop.

There are picnic tables, a trail map and a nice hangout place to hang out with the locals. The Balm Boyette Scrub Preserve is a 14.5-mile trail.

6. San Felasco

San Felasco

If you are in central Florida, you should stop at San Felasco. Here, there are gentle climbs and quick downhills. The trails are about 25-30 miles, and the state park is mostly smooth single-track that has many hills. 

This trail will grant you a scenic mileage. You can make easy and challenging trails. You can also participate in an event known as Tour de Felasco, where you can ride for over 50 miles. The event is very popular.

The loops interconnect to give a lot of variety as far as distance and routes are concerned. The area is also covered with trails for hiking and horse riding. Bikers use their trails. You are not allowed to camp here but, you can access the restroom and wash your bike. The closest lodging options can be found 10 miles away.

Make sure you are fit before taking the conquistador trail, which is an advanced single-track 3-mile trail.

If you are a beginner, try this mountain bike trail. Some more challenging trails are not as hard as they may seem. There are trail markers that will give directions. 

The San Felasco mountain bike trail has experienced budget cuts. Enjoy your ride while it’s still open. Let the local officials know if you like the trail.

7. Timberlake Mountain Bike Trails

Timberlake Mountain Bike Trails
©MTB Project

Timberlake Mountain bike trails are one of the best trails in Florida. The length of the trails is over 20 miles single-track. The trail is close to Fort Walton Beach. The technicality of this trail ranges from beginners to advance. There are many bike shops in the vicinity. There are several points where you can purchase local beers and food.

The trail is one of the best sights in the state.  It is located close to the Eglin Air Force Base. Local riders have maintained single-track. You are required to have a recreational license to access the trail system. 

On these trails, you will find different paths. The peaks and troughs are worth remembering. On those sharp trail turns, your mountain bike riding skills will be tested.

8. Orlando Wetlands Park

Orlando Wetlands Park
©http://blog.michaellibbephotography.com/

Orlando Wetlands Park is among the best bike trails in Florida. The riding experience is enticing. Christmas is the closest city to the park. The trail system is not hard. It is suitable for beginners.

You can be accompanied by family and get them to ride the MTB. Orlando City Parks & Recreation maintains the Wetlands Park. In this park, you will experience nature hands.

There are not many technicalities in the Orlando Wetlands Park. You can start your Mountain Biking training here. The locals are friendly, and you can acquire beer and food in the area.

Conclusion

Florida is not mainly known for mountain biking, but it has many offers. The different trails offer different technicality difficulty. You will experience a lot of fun when you ride on these trails.

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