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Portions of the 13-mile South Lake Trail, centered near Clermont, FL, are particularly scenic, with views along Lake Minneola and other lakes and sweeping vistas on the sand ridges. The trail connects with the West Orange Trail to create 36 miles of continuous Central Florida biking through Lake and Orange Counties. East of Clermont, the South Lake Trail intersects with the Hancock Trail (open vistas, smooth, and hilly - popular with road bikers). Together, these two trails are now referred to as the "South Lake Trail System." The Trail also serves as a link in the Florida Coast-to-Coast Trail (C2C), with plans to extend west to the Van Fleet State Trail. (Detailed map and photos below.)
South Lake Trail System Map
Location: Lake County (Clermont)
End Points: Groveland (Silver Eagle Rd.) to Clermont Waterfront Park to Killarney Station (West Orange Trail)
Mileage: 13 miles
Surface: Asphalt, 14'
Trailheads/Parking: Lake Hiawatha Preserve Trailhead, West Lake Minneola Trailhead, Victory Pointe, 8th St. at W. Osceola St., 8th St. at W. Minneola Ave., Clermont Waterfront Park, Clermont Boat Ramp, Minneola Park Trailhead, Killarney Station (West Orange Trail) (See map)
Nearby Points of Interest: Florida Citrus Tower, Lake Louisa State Park, Clermont Historic Village, Sugarloaf Mountain, Walt Disney World, Bok Tower Gardens
Bike Shops / Bike Rentals:
Road bikers and triathletes seem to enjoy the hills this trail offers. Clermont, at the midpoint of the Florida Coast-to-Coast Trail, is a designated Florida Trail Town. The Minneola Scenic Trail Section along the waterfront between Clermont and Minneola is particularly enjoyable. A nearby on-road trip is to tackle Sugarloaf Mountain, the highest point in Central Florida at 312 feet above sea level (this is a popular motorcycle route, be careful).
Silver Eagle Road marks the current end of South Lake Trail, however it's slated to be extended westward from here as part of the Florida Coast-to-Coast Trail. Paralleling CR 565A and CR 561, the trail includes two bridges. Lake Hiawatha Preserve Trailhead has parking, restrooms, picnic, and a fishing pier. There's limited parking at the trailhead, but more across CR 561 at the Preserve.
The trail continues next to CR 561, crossing a bridge lakeside (where it enters Clermont City Limits), to West Beach Park (parking, restrooms, playground, pier). Past here, the trail leaves the roadside, and continues along the waterfront to Victory Pointe Park (parking, restrooms, event pavilion, observation tower). Just past Victory Pointe Park, Clermont Waterfront Park begins.
If you happen to be biking on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, a worthwhile stop just behind Victory Pointe is a tour of the Clermont Historic Village.conducted by the Clermont Historical Society. A collection of historic buildings from around Clermont, they depict Clermont history from the 1800's to WWII. Seven buildings on the site include originals and replicas. More information
Past Epic Cycle World at 8th Street are two options: follow the path down to the promenade and go along the waterfront (but watch for pedestrians), or continue straight on the bluff overlooking the promenade. Here the trail has been widened and parking area enhanced; then it angles back to the waterfront. This section is well buffered from the road, picnic tables and benches are provided; you'll see fishermen on the shoreline. Past Champions Splash Park is extensive parking at Clermont Waterfront Park, plus the beach, picnic pavilions, restrooms, and playground. Meet Us in the Middle Plaza is being developed to highlight Clermont's position at the midpoint of the Florida Coast-to-Coast Trail. At the Clermont Boat Ramp are parking and restrooms.
Past the Boat Ramp, the trail crosses Lake Minneola Drive then runs roadside about 1/2 mile before breaking away at Main Street. Continuing to Minneola is a pleasant shaded ride (and one of the few trails with streetlights). The underpass at US 27 is a positive. About a half mile east of US 27, a spur off the trail runs 0.3 mile to Minneola Park Trailhead.
Minneola Park Trailhead has parking, restrooms, ball fields, basketball court, playing fields, playground, picnic areas, and a dog park.
Here the trail runs along Old Hwy 50 on the Central Florida sporting the highest elevations of any rail-trail in the state. Featuring open vistas and some challenging hills on the sand ridges, this is a popular location for triathletes in training. The trail joins the Hancock Trail (link below; 6.5 miles, leading to the National Training Center at South Lake Hospital) briefly before crossing N. Hancock Rd.
After crossing N. Hancock Road, the trail continues paralleling Old Hwy 50. Here it flattens out and is a pleasant section to ride. Old Hwy 50 ends at CR 455, then the trail continues along CR 455 to a boardwalk. At the end of the boardwalk, cross the road to continue on the trail.
This section running east to Killarney Station is off the road and shaded with some nice hills and turns. Although it parallels Old Hwy 50, it's buffered from the road by vegetation until near the end. There's just one road crossing at Lake Blvd., approaching trail end at the Lake/Orange County line. The trail links seamlessly with the West Orange Trail (link below), then it's another 0.10 mile to Killarney Station (parking, restrooms, bike rentals, snacks, picnic, playground).
Hancock & South Lake Trail, in Minneola and Clermont, Florida , from our friend Dave at Phonamana
See all bike trails in Lake County
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