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One of the area's first rail-trails, the Cross Seminole Trail has been extended, now totalling 28 miles from the Orange/Seminole County line at Aloma Ave. (southern end) to Lake Monroe Wayside Park west of Sanford (northern end). The Trail now connects to 3 other popular bike trails - Cady Way Trail at Aloma Ave., Seminole Wekiva Trail, via a bike bridge over I-4 in Lake Mary, and to the Spring to Spring Trail, just over the St Johns River Bridge at Lake Monroe. Between the bridges, the Cross Seminole Trails serves as part of the FL Coast-to-Coast Trail. Biking suggestion... for more shade and fewer road crossings, check out the original rail-trail section between Oviedo and Winter Springs. (Trail map and photos below.)
Cross Seminole Trail
Location: Seminole County, FL (Oviedo, Winter Springs,
Longwood, Lake Mary, Sanford)
End Points: Aloma Ave. at Howell Branch Road and Lake Monroe Wayside Park
Mileage: 28 miles
Surface: Asphalt, 12' (some more narrow sections)
Trailheads/Parking: Oviedo Aquatic Center, Black Hammock Trailhead, Winter Springs Town Center, Central Winds Park, Soldiers Creek Park, Big Tree Park, Greenwood Lakes Park, Lake Mary Trailhead, Lake Monroe Wayside Park See map)
Nearby Points of Interest: Big Tree Park, Spring Hammock Preserve, Seminole County Environmental Studies Center, Lake Monroe Wayside Park, Central Florida Zoo
Suggestions on Best Sections to Ride... Oviedo to "downtown" Winter Springs, and from Soldiers Creek Park at CR419 to Big Tree Park. Across CR419, fat tire bikers will enjoy riding the dirt road through the Environmental Center to the long boardwalk at Lake Jesup (BIG cypress trees). A portion of the trail is designated as part of the Florida National Scenic Trail.
The Cross Seminole Trail starts along Aloma Avenue (SR426) at Howell Branch Road, across from the end of the Cady Way Trail. Initially it runs roadside along Aloma, one of the least shaded portions of this trail. It then turns off the road, passing industrial and residential areas and for a portion is next to the SR417 Expressway before re-emerging to the roadway. The bridge along Aloma at Red Bug Lake Road is a bonus, crossing a very busy intersection - be careful when crossing the business drives approaching the bridge. (Note: Goldenrod Park at the end of Cady Way Trail can be used for parking, cross Aloma Ave. to the Cross Seminole Trail.)
Continue over the bridge onto the sidewalk, then along Aloma to Oviedo Mall Blvd. (about 500 feet). Cross Aloma at the traffic light and follow the trail to S. Central Ave. (SR434). This section of the trail passes commercial and residential areas with several road crossings. At South Central Avenue are two options (see below). (Updated: March 2019)
From S. Central Avenue (SR434) are 2 options, both running on wide sidewalks. They converge along the main trail to Winter Springs. Option 1 is the "official" trail (on an extra-wide sidewalk) leading to the trailhead at Oviedo Aquatic Center, it includes crossing several busy roads with 3 traffic lights. Option 2 is shorter and involves only one traffic light but no trailhead. (Updated: March 2019)
The trail crosses S. Central Avenue (SR434 - traffic light) to Oviedo Blvd. Turn right to the Oviedo Aquatic Center Trailhead. Turn left to continue on the trail, crossing E. Broadway St. (CR419 - traffic light), it meanders along the wide sidewalk to a roundabout, cross Geneva Drive at the second left. Proceed along E. Franklin St. back to N. Central Avenue (SR434), where the trail again crosses (traffic light) and links to the paved trail continuing to Winter Springs - converging here with Option 2.
At S. Central Avenue, turn left and ride along the sidewalk, past 2 minor road crossings, to W. Broadway St. (SR426). Cross at the light, and continue on N. Central Ave. a short distance to the trail entrance (past the church and before the Quick Stop, (about 250 feet). This is the paved trail toward Winter Springs, it meets Option 1 about a quarter mile along the trail.
This starts one of the prettier sections along the trail, with only a few residential road crossings. The trail passes through residential neighborhoods and under SR417 on the way to the Black Hammock trailhead (parking, water, restrooms, benches, equestrian parking). Built on the old Sanford and Indian River Railroad bed between Oviedo and Sanford; the Black Hammock Trailhead is on a spur that ran to Black Hammock on Lake Jesup. The trail crosses the trestle over scenic Howell Creek, and continues through a residential area of the Tuscawilla community in Winter Springs to the bridge over SR434.
The bridge is a welcome addition over busy SR434. From the bridge, the trail continues toward Winter Springs Town Center, a convenient stop for refreshments and to rest. A new paved trailhead (parking only) provides access to restaurants and other amenities at the Town Center- watch for the sign along the trail pointing to the trailhead. (November 2020)
Leaving the Town Center, the trail passes Winter Springs High School and Central Winds Park (parking, restrooms, water, picnic, playground, playing fields, nature trail with views of Lake Jesup). (Note @ Nov. 2020: New construction underway at the park includes the future site of trail restrooms - this will be very welcome when done!) Leaving the park, the trail comes to the Winter Springs Dog Park, a side road (Hicks Ave.) between the dog park and Central Winds playing fields runs to parking and continues to a fishing pier with views of Lake Jesup (about 3/10 mile).
Past the Dog Park, the trail then emerges to SR434 - trees planted during construction have matured, so some shade provided as well as buffer from road. The trail again turns away from the road to another pretty portion over Gee Creek, arriving at Layer Elementary School. Formerly, the trail ended here with a gap, but now is continuous from this point.
From Layer Elementary, the trail runs along CR419 to Wade St. (about 1/10 mile). Here, it continues along CR419 but a sign says "Trail Closed" - it's rideable, but comes to an end until a railroad crossing is completed. However, at Wade St. is a detour along paved roads to a new section of trail that goes to the powerline. So, we're considering the gap essentially closed since there's continuous paved biking. Go right onto Wade St., then left onto Old Sanford-Oviedo St. (watch for cars and trucks). At the end of the road is a transfer station, to the left is the eventual connection from the railroad crossing, to the right is new pavement (replacing a sandy dirt road), continuing the trail to the powerline. (March 2021)
The powerline continues to Spring Hammock Preserve, then the trail crosses CR419 to Soldiers Creek Park. Spring Hammock Preserve and the Seminole County Environmental Studies Center are worthwhile stops. At Spring Hammock Preserve, if you have the right bike tires and the ground isn't too wet, take time to ride the dirt road to the boardwalk to Lake Jesup, and visit the Environmental Studies Center. (Consider a donation to help keep this educational resource available to our children.)
The trail goes across CR419 to Soldiers Creek Park (restrooms, water, parking, playing fields, equestrian parking, 1.3 mile mountain bike trail). It continues past Soldiers Creek Park, across the overpass at US17-92, through a canopied forest section of the trail along General Hutchinson Pkwy. to Big Tree Park (parking, water, restrooms, picnic, playground, boardwalk). Continue to Ronald Reagan Blvd. turn left and use the crosswalk onto Longwood-Lake Mary Road. Turn onto Greenway Blvd. at Lake Mary High School to Greenwood Lakes Park (parking, restrooms, playground, pavilion, volleyball, ball field, tennis, roller hockey rink).
Big Tree Park is named for the large, ancient cypress trees on site. "The Senator" at 3,500 years was a National Champion Bald Cypress but sadly lost to arson in 2012. A clone, "The Phoenix," has been planted near the playground. "Lady Liberty," a 2,000 year old bald cypress, is now the reigning "Big Tree" - walk along the Boardwalk to see Lady Liberty and the charred remains of The Senator. The park was donated to Seminole County by Senator M.O. Overstreet (thus the name "The Senator") and dedicated by President Calvin Coolidge in 1929.
The trail continues through Greenway Lakes Park and behind the library before coming back onto Greenway Blvd., where it turns off at the Crossings and follows the power lines. Go through the tunnel under Greenwood Blvd. Exiting the Crossings, cross the road at Greenwood and Sun Drive and continue a short distance along the roadside to the bridge at Lake Mary Blvd.
Under the Lake Mary Blvd. bridge is the Lake Mary trailhead (parking, restrooms, water). Here Greenwood Blvd. becomes Rinehart Road and a rather uninspiring section of the trail, basically a wide sidewalk with no shade that runs north to the I-4 bridge link to the Seminole Wekiva Trail. From the bridge, the trail continues as part of the Florida Coast-to-Coast Trail, running along Rinehart Road to H.E. Thomas Jr. Pkwy. (CR 46A) with some business crossings and little shade. (Note: From the bridge north, formerly called the Rinehart Trail.)
Continuing along Rinehart Road the trail crosses SR46, runs to Monroe Road (CR15), and then to US17-92. Here is a tricky 3-part crossing - across US17-92 and two I-4 exit ramps. The trail goes under I-4 and ends at Lake Monroe Wayside Park (MM 27.7). From here, a bike/pedestrian bridge crosses the St. Johns River to meet the Spring-to-Spring Trail at Lake Monroe Park - completing this link on the Florida Coast-to-Coast Trail . At US17-92, the Cross Seminole Trail also will connect to the Sanford Riverwalk, once the Riverwalk is extended. (Updated: April 2019)
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