I recently had the pleasure of a Sunday family bike ride on the Seminole Wekiva Trail from the Jones Trailhead to the San Sebastian Trailhead and back. Each way was about 6.5 miles for this ride, but the entire trail is almost 14 miles long. This section feels like a ride on a country road, trees often forming a tunnel, casting dappled light across the trail.
The trail was built on the railroad bed of the former Orange Belt Railway. Incredibly, this was the longest railroad in the country at one time. Interestingly, it was built by a Russian nobleman, first cousin of Prince Petroff and a captain of the Imperial Guard, who’d been exiled from his home country. Born Petrovitch Demenscheff, he Anglicized his name to Peter Demens once he arrived in America.
Trail users can drop in at the Softball Complex to watch a game or pop into Sanlando Park for some tennis, basketball, or racquetball. Perhaps you’d enjoy taking in some art along the way. No problem — a significant section of the trail features mural fencing — that is, wooden fencing on one side or the other, sometimes both, that’s covered in impressive murals done by Jeff Sonksen. They blend well into the surrounding woodlands and draw your attention away from business and residential backyards.
As you might expect, this can be a pretty popular trail, being in a heavily populated area. My one little gripe is that where the trail runs right up against the back of the I-4 westbound rest area, there’s a fence preventing access between the trail and rest area. It seems like a no-brainer that the rest area should serve trail users, too. Were the county and state not able to come to terms, or has nobody considered this?
Overall, this is an excellent stretch of Central Florida rail trail. It’s also part of the Florida National Scenic Trail, commonly known as the Florida Trail. So whether you hike it or bike it, I do recommend you check it out. Bring the family along and make a day of it, maybe catch a ball game.
Take a look at the video and maps below…I think you’ll agree. Looking for other places to play outside in Florida? See Where-to-Go and my Bucket List for all kinds of outdoor fun all over the state. Whatever you do, get out there and enjoy Florida’s Natural Wonders.