Lake Minneola Scenic Trail soon to have a new Lake County partner
|Directions to the Lake Minneola Scenic Trail: From Orlando, take State Road 50 west to U.S. Highway 27. Take a right on U.S. Highway 27 (heading north) and continue to Old Highway 50. Take a right (heading east) and follow until you see signs for the trail.
The 5.5-mile Lake Minneola Scenic Trail in Clermont, Fla., boasts the highest elevations of any rails-to-trails project in the state but perhaps not for long.
The Lake Minneola Scenic Trail will soon be more attractive to long-distance bikers as Lake County officials recently broke ground on a new 4-mile South Lake Trail. The majority of the trail will be constructed on an old railroad bed that lies between the cities of Clermont and Winter Garden.
“It’s a big step for Lake County,” said County Commissioner Bob Pool. “I expect this trail will really jump start the County’s trail program.”
While the two trails may compete for the loftiest heights title, the trails will probably host more events than many others in the state. While the wheelchair-accessible Lake Minneola Scenic Trail is a popular spot for casual bikers, walkers and inline skaters, it’s a favorite among professional triathlon athletes as a short spur off the Lake Minneola Scenic Trail connects to the National Training Center in Clermont.
Utilized for training purposes and some races, the Lake Minneola Scenic Trail is an ideal location that benefits the many visiting athletes to the National Training Center. For those that are not well-tuned sports competitors, the trail offers a pleasant trip for casual bikers and walkers. Although mostly urban, the trail does offer spectacular views of Lake Minneola and some breathtaking sunsets.
The trail boasts two trailheads: the Western Trailhead is located in Clermont near Lake Minneola and the Minneola trailhead at 315 Madison St. The Minneola Trailhead Park includes two practice ball fields, a basketball court, a playground, paved parking, ball fields, restrooms and a covered pavilion near the trail. The Clermont trailhead is perfect for sunbathing or picnicking at the lakeside beach.
When the South Lake Trail is completed in the summer of 2006, it will connect the Lake Minneola Scenic Trail to the 22-mile West Orange Trail. Together, the three trails will form a considerable portion of the planned Central Florida Loop. When completed, the South Lake Trail will be the largest for Lake County.
“It’s a needed link,” said Michael Woods, Alternative Transportation Planner for the Lake County Department of Public Works. “Lake County has needed this connection for a long time.”