Top 10 Trails in Florida - Rails to Trails Conservancy (2024)

TrailBlog > Top 10 Trails in Florida

America’s Trails

By: Laura Stark
January 1, 2021

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Florida. The very name conjures up lush natural areas rich in wildlife, sandy beaches and seashells, and vibrant cities bursting with attractions. The Sunshine State’s plethora of pathways—including nearly 60 rail-trails—connect travelers to this diverse array of beautiful landscapes and unique communities. Even better, with some of the flattest geography in the United States, these top trails are suitable for just about everyone.

Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail

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Forming an arc from St. Petersburg north past Tarpon Springs and inland to East Lake, the nearly 50-mileFred Marquis Pinellas Trailallows travelers to experience the charms of Florida’s western shore, with Gulf Coast views and an enjoyable mix of urban waterfront and quaint downtowns. Pedal to nearbyHoneymoon Island State Parkfor a delightful dip in the water and a nature walk through pine flatwoods. Excitingly, thisHall of Famerail-trail also plays a role in two developing trail systems: a75-mile loopconnecting Pinellas County by trail; and theCoast-to-Coast Connector Trail, a 250-mile route across the state.

Withlacoochee State Trail

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Counties:Citrus, Hernando, Marion, Pasco

One of the longest rail-trails in the state, theWithlacoochee State Trailconnects a string of small communities in west-central Florida along a 46-mile route largely paralleling the Withlacoochee River. Florida is known for its wildlife, and trail-goers will almost certainly see some here. Deer, alligators, tortoises, wild turkeys and many other animals inhabit the landscapes that the paved pathway rolls through, including sand hills, wetlands, cypress forests and groves of longleaf pine. History buffs can also enjoy a peek into the past with railroad whistle markers, the Lake Henderson Trestle and a restored 1925 caboose.

Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail-Trail

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Located west of Jacksonville’s urban core, theJacksonville-Baldwin Rail-Trailtraverses some of northeast Florida’s prettiest landscapes, including wetlands, pine flatwoods and hardwood uplands. The rail-trail crosses the McGrits and Brandy Branch creeks as it extends 14.5 miles west to the small town of Baldwin. The shady corridor offers a haven for many types of birds—including hawks, wood storks and belted kingfishers—and other wildlife. Midway along the trail, theCamp Milton Historic Preserve, the site of one of Florida’s most significant Civil War fortifications, offers a place to learn about local history and stroll the grounds, with a nature path and boardwalk.

West Orange Trail

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Dotted with Spanish moss-draped oaks, skirting a handful of small lakes and winding through the charming town of Winter Garden, theWest Orange Trailis a must-see Florida biking destination. This diverse pathway connects small communities and suburban neighborhoods northwest of Orlando, yet offers ample opportunities for viewing wildlife along the way. The route stretches 22 miles from Oakland to Apopka and is anchored on its southern end by Killarney Station, a modern take on an old-time train depot.

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General James A. Van Fleet State Trail

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Counties:Lake, Polk, Sumter

In Florida’s rural center, theGeneral James A. Van Fleet State Trailprovides a scenic trip through bottomland forest, cattle ranchland and theGreen Swamp, a massive protected expanse teeming with wildlife. The experience on the 29-mile paved pathway can easily be combined with other outdoor activities that abound around it, including horseback riding on the paralleling equestrian track, hunting in the Green Swamp and paddling in the adjacent Withlacoochee, Hillsborough and Peace rivers.

Gainesville-Hawthorne State Park Trail

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Heading south from the bustling university town of Gainesville along theGainesville-Hawthorne State Park Trail, travelers will soon reach thePaynes Prairie Preserve State Park, where wild horses and bison roam. A 50-foot-high observation tower in the park provides panoramic views. Approaching the trail’s eastern end in the former railroad town of Hawthorne, the 16.5-mile route flanks theLochloosa Wildlife Management Area—part of the Great Florida Birding Trail—where recreational opportunities abound, including hunting, fishing, hiking, horseback riding and canoeing.

Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail

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Counties:Leon, Wakulla

TheTallahassee–St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trailfollows the route of the state’s first and longest-operating railroad, created in the mid-1800s to transport cotton from plantations to awaiting ships at Port Leon, near the Gulf of Mexico. Today, the rail-trail offers 21 miles of adventure along a variety of urban and more remote environments, passing side trails and state parks along the way. Longleaf pines and forests of oak, wax myrtle and yaupon holly shade the route. At the trail’s southern terminus is the city of St. Marks, which boasts waterfront restaurants and views of cruising boats on the St. Marks River.

Legacy Trail

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TheLegacy Trail, perched on Florida’s west coast, has a splendid opening: theHistoric Venice Train Depot, a Mediterranean Revival-style building dating back to 1927 and once considered the finest station on the Seaboard Air Line Railroad. Next to the depot stands a bronze statue of circus star Gunther Gebel-Williams—heralded as “The Greatest Wild Animal Trainer of All Time”—a nod to the tracks’ usage by the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. From here, the 10.7-mile rail-trail that now traces the line heads to the southern outskirts of Sarasota. Like much of the state, nature is close at hand along the route; watch for the trail’s many interpretive signs to identify and learn more about the regional flora and fauna, as well as signs about the area’s history.

Timpoochee Trail

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Tucked into the Florida Panhandle, theTimpoochee Trailtraces the Gulf of Mexico shoreline and Scenic Highway 30-A, connecting a handful of coastal communities and beaches between Duane Allen and Rosemary Beach. Views of the sea, sandy dunes and marsh lakes, plus easy access to three state parks—Topsail Hill Preserve,Grayton BeachandDeer Lake—make this 19-mile route a stunner.

East Central Regional Rail Trail

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Counties:Brevard, Volusia

Although a small gap remains in its planned 52-mile route, theEast Central Regional Rail Trailalready provides 47 miles of paved pathway for exploring Florida’s east coast. Trail-goers can seamlessly ride from Titusville—the Brevard County seat—north to Edgewater in neighboring Volusia County, and at the midway point, they can go from Maytown west to Farmton. Farther west, a disconnected segment links Osteen and Enterprise on the northern shore of Lake Monroe, and provides a connection to theSpring to Spring Trail. The pleasant route offers passage through lush corridors of tall trees, bridges over picturesque wetlands and easy access to city centers.

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Related: Florida’s Spring to Spring Trail

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RELATED: Trail of the Month: Florida’s Spring to Spring Trail (March 2021)

Honorable Mention

Atlantic Greenway

Nestled in Miami Beach, one of the country’s most popular destinations, the 4-mileAtlantic Greenwayoffers a great place for people-watching and taking in views of the Atlantic Ocean. Despite its short length, the palm-tree-lined pathway serves as a major connector, linking parks, beaches, hotels, and shopping and dining areas. The route also holds a place in two much larger trail systems: theMiami LOOP, a developing 225-mile trail network throughout Miami-Dade County, and theEast Coast Greenway, extending from Florida to Maine.



This blog has been updated from its original 2014 version.Special acknowledgment:Ken Bryan, RTC’s Florida State Director and Senior Strategist for External Relations

Miami LOOP

The Miami LOOP is a 225-mile trail vision to expand transportation options, make biking and walking safer and more equitable, strengthen the regional economy, reduce the area’s carbon footprint, and improve health and wellness across Miami-Dade County.

Atlantic Greenway South Beach Trail, part of the Miami LOOP | Photo by Lee Smith

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  • Tags: America’s Trails Best Of Miami LOOP Top10 Trail Destinations TrailNation Using Trails
  • States: Florida
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Laura Stark

Laura Stark is the senior editor for Rails to Trails magazine, responsible for highlighting trails and the people working hard to support them across America.

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Everyone deserves access to safe ways to walk, bike, and be active outdoors.


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Top 10 Trails in Florida - Rails to Trails Conservancy (2024)


Top 10 Trails in Florida - Rails to Trails Conservancy? ›

What is the longest paved trail in Florida? According to, the longest paved trail in Florida is Space Coast Bike Loop.

What is the longest paved trail in Florida? ›

What is the longest paved trail in Florida? According to, the longest paved trail in Florida is Space Coast Bike Loop.

Where are the best biking trails in Florida? ›

  • Cape Haze Pioneer Trail Park. Biking Trails. ...
  • Coconut Grove Bike Path. Biking Trails Coconut Grove. ...
  • Cross Seminole Trail. Jogging Paths & Tracks. ...
  • Nature Coast State Trail. Biking Trails. ...
  • Gar Pond. Biking Trails. ...
  • Seminole Wekiva Trail. Hiking Trails. ...
  • Black Creek Trail. Jogging Paths & Tracks. ...
  • Sunnyhill Restoration Area. Biking Trails.

What is the app for rails to trails conservancy? ›

Through TrailLink™, RTC's national trail-finder website and app, we've catalogued more than 41,000 miles of multiuse trails to date, helping 90 million people safely and conveniently access and navigate trails in their communities and beyond.

Which of the following best explains the purpose of the rail to trails conservancy? ›

Rails to Trails Conservancy (RTC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors to build healthier places for healthier people.

What is the hardest trail in Florida? ›

Top trails (2)
  • Torreya Challenge. Hard• 4.3(214) #1 - Torreya Challenge. Torreya State Park. Length: 12.5 mi•Est. 5h 18m.
  • Stoney Bayou Pool 1 Big Loop. Hard• 0.0(0) #2 - Stoney Bayou Pool 1 Big Loop. St Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Length: 8.1 mi•Est. 2h 19m.

What is the most scenic hiking trail in Florida? ›

The Florida National Scenic Trail (also known as the Florida Trail or FT for short) is a congressionally-designated, long-distance hiking trail that weaves its way across Florida from Big Cypress National Preserve in the south to Gulf Islands National Seashore in the western end of Florida's panhandle.

What is the longest hiking trail in Florida? ›

The Florida National Scenic Trail, better known as the Florida Trail, is a federally-designated, non-motorized recreation trail that meanders approximately 1,500 miles across some of the most beautiful, unique landscapes in the entire country.

Can you camp anywhere on the Florida Trail? ›

Facilities for backpacking along the Florida National Scenic Trail vary. Some managing authorities permit primitive camping anywhere along the trail. Others permit camping only at designated sites. Utilize maps and guidebooks to plan your trip accordingly.

What is the most bike friendly city in Florida? ›

With a bike score of 87, Key West is the most bikeable city in Florida and one of the most bikeable in the country.

Is Rails to trails a good charity? ›

This charity's score is 99%, earning it a Four-Star rating.

What is the free version AllTrails? ›

AllTrails is free to use for everyone. All you need to do is create an account to discover, save, and navigate trails for free. AllTrails is your guide to the outdoors! Whether you are using or the AllTrails app, you can easily find trails near you.

What is the best free trail app? ›

Best Hiking Apps At-A-Glance
  • Best Free Hiking App: AllTrails.
  • Best GPS App for Hiking: Gaia GPS.
  • Best App for Mountain Identification: PeakVisor.
  • Best Hiking App You Already Have: Google Maps.
  • Best Backpacking App: FarOut (formerly Guthook Guides)
  • Best App for Hiking Trails Inspiration: Hiking Project.
Dec 20, 2023

What is the main idea of rails to trails? ›

At RTC, we believe that every person—regardless of race, gender, geography, income, age, ability, sexual orientation or expression, or other minority status—deserves access to free, accessible and safe places where they can walk, bike and be active.

What is the mission of the rails to trails conservancy? ›

At Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, we believe that everyone has the right to safely walk, bike and be active outside. That's why we are working to make trails and other active transportation infrastructure available, accessible and well-known to everyone in America, bringing joy and well-being to people's lives.

Who started Rails to trails? ›

Feb. 1, 1986. RTC opens its doors; there are 250 known miles of open rail-trails in the U.S. Founders Peter Harnik and David Burwell are credited with writing and acquiring funding for the proposal to create RTC (after meetings with a working group of trail and outdoor advocates).

What is the 1200 mile off road trail in Florida? ›

Known for creating the Florida Adventure Trail (F.A.T), a 1200+ mile backwoods route, they've showcased the state's natural beauty through carefully designed trails combining unpaved and scenic roads.

How long does it take to hike the entire Florida Trail? ›

Completing the Florida Trail (FT) in one trip is a mammoth undertaking. Each year, dozens of hikers attempt a thru-hike. A typical thru-hiker takes two to three months to hike the entire FT.


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