Let’s bike Florida! No, we aren’t talking about taking out your Harley, but rather jumping on your mountain bike, road bike or beach cruiser for a spectacular ride on Florida’s amazing biking trails. Tucked along the east coast between the World’s Most Famous Beach & our Nation’s Oldest City, Flagler County offers a variety of biking opportunities to explore the more natural side of Florida. Boasting a long, rich history, many of the recreational activities available in Flagler weave modern enjoyment with the county’s past.
Take out your beach cruiser and cycle Florida’s beaches. The beaches along Flagler’s coast begin in the south with Gamble Rogers Memorial State Park, moving north to include the Flagler Beach Municipal Pier and Varn Park. Biking north along the coast, one will find the Hammock area, Washington Oaks Gardens State Park and finally Marineland, Florida. The River to Sea Preserve is located in this northern-most area, offering biking trails and water launches for canoes and kayaks. Washington Oaks is best known for its manicured gardens, though short, easy trails make for easy walking or cycling through the hammocks.
Florida’s nearly perfect year-round weather invites cyclists to hit the roads and trails regularly, and bicycling in Flagler is a growing sport. Roadies have long been riding “The Loop”, spinning south along the coast and through the canopied-covered roads winding into Volusia County. Depending on the route chosen, this ride will take cyclists past the Bulow Plantation ruins and across the drawbridge at Highbridge Road. The county has recently expanded cycling ventures, leading to an increase in paved and off-road trail expansions. Linear Park, Canopy Walk, Lehigh Trail and St. Joe’s Walkway are all paved paths linking communities across the county. To the west, for those brave enough to venture the well-worn roads, lies “Old Brick Road”, formed in 1914, before Flagler was even an official Florida county.
Looking for a black diamond rated biking adventure in Florida? Graham Swamp is Flagler’s original off-road adventure, making use of land off Colbert Road, across from the original concrete factory. The land is officially owned by St. John’s Water Management District, and maintained by local riders. This trail is 6.5 miles of technical riding, making good use of the ridges and valleys to provide a constant elevation challenge. The natural layout of the land provides for tight turns with the natural ups and downs, resulting in a somewhat difficult course. Despite its murky-sounding name, during the dry season, Graham Swamp tends to be difficult to navigate due to the sugar sand. Rains temper the ground, providing the best opportunities for riding. Whether riding or hiking through the Swamp, be prepared for an abundance of wildlife, including deer, boar, snakes and a variety of bird of prey.
Off-road riding opportunities are also expanding in Flagler County, Florida with the push from a newly organized off-road cycling club. The second biking trail completed in Flagler is just the first from the club. It’s located along the coast in the Hammock area, known as the Mala Compra trail. The land here is surprisingly varied resulting in a very diverse trail from start to finish. This trail does have options for circumventing the extremely difficult areas.
Florida biking is important in Flagler and a local club is working with the county to develop two more potential sites for off-road riding and currently has plans for two more off-road, single-tracks. The first trail would be accessed through the Florida Agricultural Museum at Hawkins Mill. The goal of this trail is to provide a fast-flowing trail for all levels of riders. The second trail is planned to incorporate and expand the existing Bulow trails. With continued collaboration between the county and the new bike club it promises to increase riding opportunities for all cyclists in Flagler County, Florida.
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