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“Depending on your purpose ....”

Gen. James A. Van Fleet State Trail
Ranked #2 of 5 things to do in Polk City
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed 26 February 2013 via mobile

If your purpose is to get exercise in a relatively safe place, the Van Fleet Trail is a good choice. If your purpose is to see great scenery and wildlife, keep looking for another trail. I think Van Fleet is boring in comparison to some of the other trails, but it has a consistantly smooth pavement surface so you do not have the worries of a gravel path.

Thank USHistoryTeacher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (43)
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39 - 43 of 43 reviews

Reviewed 25 February 2013

I went by myself yesterday to explore the rual area of Polk County. To my complete surprise I had numerous wildlife encounters, probably because I was the only one on the trail in the rain. If the sun was out this would have been a brutally hot day. It is a wilderness hike/ride there is no help if you get into trouble and your cell phone does not work. The signs did post these warnings so just be prepared. I encountered 4 snakes two of which were poisonous. I got close up to two raccoons. I was able to capture two alligators. There were llamas, donkey's, bulls, cows, goats, water fowl, snakes, one armadillo about 100 gopher tortoise and two raccoons. I would say that is a great exploration in my opinion. Also thisis a remote area so instead of cars in the driveway people had airplanes parked in their driveways. I found that amusing. Afterward around the corner I stopped and got soft serve ice cream from the soft serve stand it was a terrific day to end a successful wildlife hunt. I was not bored.

Thank mpeacock_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2013

We wanted to ride in the Mt. Dora area but not on busy streets with Christmas drivers darting about. The few mtn. bike trails in this area are very sandy and offer little thrill factor. A great alternative is a rail trail, these are old railroad routes that were paved for bike an foot raffic, no motor vehicles allowed. The only issue we had was they only last 3-5 miles after a 20-30 mile drive to get there. The Van Fleet runs just shy of 30 miles, making it a 60 mile out & back.
Since there's little or no change to the scenery, we decided to go halfway down then turn back.
That gave us a nice 30 mile ride with lots of beautiful birds, some turtles and farms once in a while. The trailhead has decent restrooms with running water, not pit toilets. We rented hybrid bikes from Sun Cycle Center in Tavares, highly recommended if you only plan to ride 1 day. The narrow tires on the rentals are perfect for these asphalt rides, our full suspension bikes (with fat tires) woulda been pure drudgery on a 30 mile run. The trail is ruler straight then makes a slight bend at the 2/3 point. There are narrow canals along one or both sides most of the way but it's not a narrow road, not like if you blink you're in the water. We saw many nice people riding anything from speedy road racers to easy going recumbents, Sun Cycle rents them all. We met a friendly, elderly couple who told us the best times to see wildlife are very early or late. There were also hunters in the nearby woods but they're fairly inactive in the middle of the day. The distances are clearly marked in 1/2 mile increments and there are benches, picnic tables and observation decks all along the way. There are 2 trailheads to access the trail from, about 10 miles apart. We started at the north end, a town called Mabel. Make sure you bring your water, gel, snacks, first aid kit, spare tube and pump, mini tool, or whatever other stuff you take for a ride of this length. All in all, it was a gorgeous day, clear blue skies and low 50s. After your ride, I highly recommend a short drive to Mascotte for a hearty meal at Rainbow Family Restaurant. You'll thank me.....

Thank 2thdoc33133
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 September 2012

easy parking and it is free. Take your insect repellant and a camera. we only walked the first 2 miles as it was very warm and humid, Take a Bike.

Thank janecPershore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 May 2012

...about 5 miles north of the Polk City trailhead, the trail takes a sharp (maybe 18°) turn to the West. So if the numbing straightness of the trail has put you to sleep, you could wander off (or ride off) into the swamp if you don't make the turn. In spite of the boredom of a perfectly straight trail, the scenery makes up for it, and there's an abundance of nature all over the place. Go slowly and watch for it -- also watch out for the competitive cyclists going way too fast to worry about nature. You'll see tortoises, alligators, snakes, fox (if you're lucky), and a bunch of Old Florida pastureland. Hurry before it all gets paved over. Bring plenty of sunscreen and water.

Thank PhoebeAnn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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