More than 20 miles of well-marked multi-use trails, all dirt roads, provide several choices for mountain bikers, hikers and equestrians at Volusia County’s Longleaf Pine Preserve. The dirt roads are much like side-by-side single tracks, with grasses between them. The terrain is flat throughout. Some areas are hard bottom track, some are sugar sand, and others are wet/muddy.
My son and I were fortunate to ride here at exactly the right time. Recent rains helped to pack the sandy areas, but weren’t enough to flood the wetland areas. Funny how fast conditions change — many sandy areas that had been relatively firm on the way out dried considerably for the ride back, which made the sand much softer. My legs definitely felt the burn. But I didn’t cry, no matter what my son says. It was sweat in my eyes. It was.
We decided to ride the longest route, from the East Trailhead (4551 Pioneer Trail, NSB, FL 32168) to the West Trailhead (3637 E. New York Ave, DeLand, FL 32724) and back. It’s about 11 miles each way. The western section is a 6 mile loop marked with red blazes. This is the wettest section, but it’s also where the group camping site and a beautiful pavilion are located, along the pristine shores of Lake Tuscarora.
A blue blazed trail connects to the northeast corner of the red trail, which runs the rest of the way to the East Trailhead. Most of the blue trail is high and dry. In some places, a bit too dry. Some stretches of sugar sand make you work for it. But other areas are nice, smooth hard pack, where you can either pour on the speed or take a little break from working so hard on a tougher section.
Did I mention this preserve covers 12,000 acres? Both wildlife and wildflowers are everywhere. And it’s FREE! Not to mention conveniently located between I-4 and S.R. 415 on Hwy. 44. This is a place for the whole family. Check out the Photo Gallery and/or the slideshow below, along with my ride map and the links provided.