I felt like I was up Deep Creek without a paddle as I mountain biked further and further into this preserve. Sure, I was lured in by the smooth dual tracks leading in from the parking area. It was going to be a nice, easy ride — which was good, since I just rode 8+ miles on the hilly trails of Spruce Creek Preserve and now it was a rapidly warming midday.
I quickly came upon a rest area with a screened in pavilion that has a partial wrap-around deck and public restrooms, all nestled under a canopy of pines. Nice. So I headed on with bright spirits. Soon the smooth dual tracks disappeared and the ground was a bit chewed up, but then I came to a fairly new walking bridge — not designed with everyday mountain bikers in mind, but easy enough to cross.
Once on the other side, I was soon riding on what looked like an old country dirt road, mostly covered in leaves. The sun was shining through the canopy, making the forest radiate shades of green. It couldn’t have been much better…except it felt like I was riding on cobblestones.
A bulldozer had been through here, probably after Hurricane Matthew. It’s tracks cut thick grooves across the trail, accounting for the cobblestone feel. For most of this stretch there was no good line to ride outside of the tracks. The rhythmic pounding was anything but soothing.
After a minor water crossing the canopy opened up and I could see an intersection coming up. Please, no more bulldozer tracks. So I got my wish. Except now instead of bulldozer tracks, the road had been harrowed down its length as far as the eye could see, creating narrow grooves to ride in. Better than the thumpity-thumpity, but again not ideal for mountain biking. Especially since I was getting hot and tired by now…with no shade.
Before long I came to another intersection, this one with a covered bench. Here I had the choice to add roughly 3 extra miles to my torture — I mean ride — or loop back. Looking at the road that looped back, those damn bulldozer tracks glared back at me from the other side of the harrowed road.
So I did my due diligence and scouted the other option. At first it looked promising, but on further inspection I found that it was overgrown with 3 foot high grass. Not exactly friendly to all the revolving parts on a mountain bike. Choice made, I endured the constant rhythmic jarring of the loop back.
All that said, this would be a nice place to hike or horseback ride. Just leave your mountain bike at home… you’ll thank me.
Take a look at the Photo Gallery and/or the slideshow below, as well as the ride map and links provided. See what you think. Maybe you’ll want to get out there yourself. Looking for other great places to enjoy Florida’s Natural Wonders? See our Bucket List and Where-to-Go for the best hiking, biking, paddling and more.
Ride Map >>
Deep Creek Preserve: 964 S. State Road 415, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168