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Popular with bikers, runners, and skaters, this 8-mile urban trail runs features a long section along the Little Econlockhatchee River ("Little Econ"). Though centrally located, this East Orlando bike trail offers scenic river views and wildlife viewing - wading birds, osprey, ibis, and red-tailed hawks, plus turtles and alligators can all be sighted here. The downside is almost no shade. Blanchard Park is the focal point, with many recreational and nature activities on its 87 acres. Future links planned to University of Central Florida, and to Cady Way and Cross Seminole Trails. (Detailed map and photos below.)
Little Econ Greenway Trail Map
Location: Orange County (Orlando)
End points: Alafaya Trail to Forsyth Road.
Mileage: 8 miles
Surface: Asphalt, 14'
Trailheads/Parking: SR 50 Trailhead (on north side of SR 50 just east of Goldenrod Road); Blanchard Park (1 mile north of SR50 east, on Dean Road); also, parking available at the Arcadia Acres and Econ Soccer Complexes, and on Harrell Road (just north of SR50). (See map)
Nearby Points of Interest: University of Central Florida, Blanchard Park, City of Orlando
Bike Shops / Rentals:
Cycle Spectrum (Waterford Lakes Town Center)
The central section of the Little Econ Greenway offers almost continuous water views (canal and river). Another positive is that in the center section, while the trail intersects several major roads, there are few road crossings, but rather underpasses - from Goldenrod to Roush Roads is five miles with a single road crossing at Harrell Rd. One negative is very little shade. With waterways and underpasses, much of the trail east of Blanchard Park is the favorite for recreational bikers.
Few people are aware of this tiny section of the Little Econ Greenway. A mile-marker (LEG - 000) designating the "official" beginning of the Greenway is located at the juncture of Cady Way Trail and Baldwin Park Street It parallels Baldwin Park Street east for about 1/4 mile to SR436 (Semoran Blvd.), before ending. Eventually, this short segment will link to the rest of the Greenway at Forsyth Road. Update: Orange County is currently (2021) conducting a study to build a trailhead and multi-use trail bridge over SR436.
This section of the Little Econ Greenway is more of a neighborhood trail. It starts at Forsyth Road with little fanfare (no parking), although eventually the link from the Cady Way Trail will go through this spot. The trail follows Partridge Lane along basically a wide sidewalk through a residential neighborhoodre, before crossing a bridge over wetlands to Goldenrod Road, where it's necessary to zigzag across two streets - Goldenrod Rd. and Liverpool Blvd. The trail then parallels Goldenrod for short distance before turning off and running beside a small canal between homes. (Updated: Dec. 2017)
Section updated: January 2020
At this point, the worst of the road crossings are over. After turning off Goldenrod, the trail becomes more peaceful as it parallels a small canal between homes. Parking is available at Arcadia Acres Park (parking, restrooms, playground, picnic). The canal ends at a bend in the Little Econ, where there is a trail bridge. Here riders can continue straight to the Park complex, or cross the bridge and ride towards the SR 50 trailhead (see below).
The trail splits and creates a loop. At Acadia Acres, cross the bridge and follow the river to the paved trailhead (off SR 50 just east of Goldenrod). The parking area is at the Cheney Dam site - 5 dams were constructed for flood control and are seen along the trail. From the trailhead (parking only), you can continue along the loop on the opposite side of the river. You'll pass another bridge, which links back to Arcadia Acres (see below). (See map, this will all be more clear!)
The parking area is at the Cheney Dam site - 5 dams were constructed for flood control and are seen along the trail. The river actually continues past the dam and under SR 50 to its source at an unnamed lake nearby.
The loop can be avoided by riding past the Arcadian Acres playing fields to a bridge over the river. Across the bridge, the trail meets the section looping around from SR 50. Here, more parking is available at Econ Park Soccer Complex (parking, restrooms, picnic) then a nice ride along the river to the Banner Dam and another parking area at Harrell Rd. (parking only).
Section updated: January 2020
Past Harrell, a bridge crosses the Little Econlockhatchee River linking to residential neighborhoods. The trail continues along the river before going under the SR 417 expressway. Past SR 417 is an open ride, including a stretch along power lines, before arriving at the underpass at Econlockhatchee Trail (roadway).
Past Econlochhatchee Trail (roadway), the Little Econ Greenway (bike trail) becomes more scenic as it merges with the river, plus a loop past another dam. This is a pleasant ride along the water, with benches and picnic pavilions. Just after the Dean Road underpass, the trail arrives at Blanchard Park.
Blanchard Park is a great community asset, popular with locals, families, and recreational visitors for biking, walking, jogging and rollerblading. With sweeping views of the Little Econ River from its 87 acres, the park has access to canoe/kayak trails, parking, restrooms, water, picnicking, playgrounds, tennis, sports fields, and a butterfly garden. A bridge over Michaels Dam gives a nice view and leads to some off-road trails. (A word of caution, there have been reports of crime in the area and it is not recommended to exercise alone or very early or late in the day.)
Leaving Blanchard Park, the river turns to the north as the Little Econ Greenway continues straight past the YMCA and follows Jay Blanchard Trail to Rouse Road. From this point, the bike trail becomes less of a recreational trail and more of a commuter trail. (Updated: January 2020)
After crossing Rouse Road, the Greenway continues along the roadway a short distance before going off road again. It passes behind University High School and then as a wide sidewalk along Lokanotosa Road to the terminus at Alafaya Trail. The University of Central Florida is a short distance up busy Alafaya Trail (bicycle lanes only, if you dare). Ultimately the trail will connect with the University. (Updated: Sept. 2015)
The Little Econolockhatcee River is a tributary of the Econlockhatchee River. From its source in Orlando south of SR 50, it runs 18 miles to the Econlockhatchee in Oviedo. With 5 dams for flood control, much of the river along the Greenway is more of a canal. Paddling is available along a short section here, but the river becomes narrow and winding through the floodplain downstream.
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