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Go Rollerblading or Biking at Floridaís West Orange Trail

By Janice McSherry

If you are going to the Orlando area and you want to do something a little bit different and get some good exercise in at the same time, then you should take advantage of the West Orange Trail. The West Orange Trail is a paved 22 mile former rail route that is ideal for biking and rollerblading.

The trail is only a few miles from metropolitan Orlando and Walt Disney world. It travels through the communities of Winter Garden and Apopka and offers a great experience and also lots of excellent facilities en route.

Some of the things to look for on this trail include a xeriscape/butterfly garden about a mile east of the Oakland Outpost, the Winter Garden Historical Museum and great views of Lake Apopka.

If you like horseback riding then this trail also provides access to the Clarcona Horsemanís Park. The changing scenery and picturesque towns along the route make this a great ride. Ten miles of the trail are available for equestrians. The trail will eventually be part of a 200 mile planned regional connection known as the Central Florida Loop.

Located just off Florida 50, the West Orange trail is on the former Orange Belt line built in 1866. Signs indicating distances to other trailheads are abundant, as are rest benches, mile markers, and even water cooler jugs with ice water. Bike shops are located in many of the trail parking areas (called "stations").

The trail goes down the center of Winter Garden's downtown, right in the path of the old rail line. Formerly the downtown had been in poor repair and had few remaining businesses until the trail was developed and set up to run through the area. Now it bustles with activity.

The trail crosses many roads, runs through sub-divisions, and often has large trees along the trail. The trail runs 19 paved miles and is 14 feet wide. It passes through a mix of developing and rural Florida, a few miles west of metropolitan Orlando along the borders of Lake Apopka. Though the lake can only be seen in a few places, its influence is a major part of the history of the communities along this trail. At one time the most polluted lake in the state, Lake Apopka is making a comeback today.

Four trailheads and five outposts are located along the trail, allowing you to park and access the trail. Bring your lunch and enjoy it at one of the picnic pavilions located at almost all of the trailheads and outposts. A pavilion at Chapin is available to be rented for birthdays and other types of get-togethers. Simply call the Main Office to check for availability.

Orange County has developed a full color fold-out map of the trail and you can get a copy by contacting them at : Orange County Parks and Recreation Department
Phone: 407-654-1108 or visiting their website at: http://parks.onetgov.net/index.htm

So, get your bikes ready or strap on your roller blades and hit the West Orange Trail. You will get a glimpse of central Florida up close and also get some good old fashioned exercise in the process

About the Author: Janice McSherry writes frequently about Orlando tourism. She is the proprietor of www.homesneardisney.us. Visit her website for great deals on Orlando Vacation Homes

Source: www.isnare.com
Permanent Link: http://www.isnare.com/?aid=339992&ca=Travel