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Close to Orlando, Deland is the county seat of Volusia County, home to Stetson University, and features a revitalized old downtown with a number of historical buildings. The DeLand Greenway is a nice urban trail, linking Downtown DeLand to parks, schools, neighborhoods and businesses. It's a central component of DeLand's Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, which envisions creating a loop system around the city. The Greenway is also part of an evolving Cross Volusia Trail, which is planned to stretch from Lake Beresford (Spring-to-Spring Trail) to New Smyrna Beach (St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop). (Map and photos below).
Alabama Ave. Greenway Biking Map
Location: Volusia County (DeLand)
Mileage: 6 miles
Surface: Paved, 8-12 feet
Trailheads/Parking: Earl Brown Park
Nearby Points of Interest: Stetson University, Blue Spring State Park, Hontoon Island State Park, Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge
Bike Shops / Bike Rentals:
DeLand Cyclery (DeLand)
JC's Bike Shop (DeLand)
This multi-use paved trail is an easy ride, flat with a lot shade, especially along the northern section. Popular for biking and walking. There are several well-marked road crossings, the largest being at SR 44. The section north of Earl Brown Park is most popular, with easy access to Main Street and downtown DeLand. The trail to the south weaves eastward after leaving the old downtown area, passing through suburbs.
This section, here called the "Charles Paiva Greenway," named for a City Commissioner, runs for about two miles from Earl Brown Park to Stetson University. Main Street in downtown DeLand with its restaurants and shops is just one block to the east.
Starting from Earl Brown Park (parking, restrooms, picnic, fitness trail, playground, skate park, activity center, tennis and athletic fields), the trail runs north on the east side of S. Alabama Ave., past the park, the Municipal Stadium and several playing fields, and the National Guard Armory. Crossing to the west side of Alabama, it crosses SR 44 (New York Ave.) - a busy road, be careful and use the crossing signals - then proceeds past the (new) Volusia County Courthouse. The trail detours through Painters Pond Park and exits onto E. Ohio Ave., then enters Stetson University at N. Amelia Ave.
The trail follows N. Amelia Ave. through Stetson University to E. Minnesota Ave. It turns east on Minnesota, passing residential halls and athletic facilities, including Stetson University's beach volleyball court, and ending at N. Garfield Ave.
An extension from the current trail end is planned to run along N. Garfield Ave., north 1.3 miles to US 92 (International Speedway Blvd.) where an existing trail runs along that busy road about 2.5 miles, connecting to the YMCA and municipal airport.
The trail continues south from Earl Brown Park, crossing E. Beresford Ave. and running along S. Amelia Ave., to Aquarius Ave. (where it passes DeLand Middle School), to Taylor Road. This is a more commercial area, including apartments and a water reclamation facility. Continuing along Taylor Road it again becomes more residential and shaded.
The trail continues along Taylor Road to Blue Lake Ave. S., passing Freedom Elementary School on its way to Victoria Park, a planned community with a wide network of trails and paths. We'll report more details when we visit this section at a later date.
The area around DeLand has a long native history, with Spanish and French explorers also passing through. The first pioneer settlers arrived around 1846, and the town was called "Persimmon Hollow" due to the large number of persimmon trees. In the 1870's, "Orange Fever" hit, with growing investments in orange groves. Henry Addison DeLand acquired a homestead in 1876, and following his vision of creating a town of culture and education, the town of DeLand was created. That vision holds true today, DeLand is on the National Register of Historic Places, and the DeLand Register includes a long list of historic places dating to the 1870's within the Downtown DeLand Historic District, Historic Garden District, and Stetson University Historic District. In addition to Stetson University, DeLand also is home to several history and art museums.
Stetson University began in 1883 as the DeLand Academy, was renamed DeLand College in 1885, and was chartered by the State as DeLand University in 1887. In 1889, it was renamed John B. Stetson University after the hat maker who was a generous benefactor to the university. Stetson University Campus Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Buildings of note include:
Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge (Eco-biking)
Volusia County Trails - see Overview Map for more nearby
See all bike trails in Orange County
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