For cyclists who like to ride on dedicated bicycle trails, or who are looking for a pleasant day of cycling away from The Villages, there are several trails within a reasonable driving distance. These are mostly rails-to-trails projects managed by the State of Florida. The closest paved trail is the Withlacoochie Trail. A map and trail locator is available at http://www.traillink.com/trailsearch.aspx?state=FL
Trail length: 46 miles, the longest paved trail in Florida.
Location: Withlacoochee State Trail winds through Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties.
To reach the closest trailhead at Inverness, see map . Total driving distance is about 21 (28 minutes) miles from Brownwood. In your GPS navigator, use the address: 315 N Apopka Ave. Inverness, FL 34450. (Look for the Caboose)
Trail length: 42 miles
Location: Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco counties
The closest trailhead is located at SR 50 (29.6 miles from southern terminus): From I-75, take Exit 61
(new Exit 301) to US 98/SR 50. Head west toward Brooksville. Continue through Brooksville on SR 50 and proceed until you reach the Suncoast Parkway. Look for the trailhead just past the parkway, south of SR 50 (on your left).
West Orange Trail
Trail length: 22 miles
Location: Orange county, north of Orlando. This trail passes through several pretty suburban
communities and does not have trailheads. Cyclists from The Villages often park in downtown Winter
Garden, pick up the trail there and then enjoy lunch after their ride at one of the town’s many restaurants.
A detailed trail map with directions is available at http://apps.ocfl.net/images/maps/WOT_TrailMap.pdf
Van Fleet Trail
Trail length: 29 miles, with at least one-third of the trail crossing central Florida’s 322,690-acre Green Swamp.
Location: Lake, Sumter, Polk counties
The northern trailhead is in the town Mabel on SR 50, a short distance southeast of Webster, about 30
miles from The Villages.
Off-Road Trail — Santos Trail
Fans of off-road cycling can take advantage of the nearby nationally-renowned Santos Trails.
Santos Bike Shop, that provides bike rentals.
Trail length: 80+ miles of single-track bike trails. Santos is diverse, with trails for beginners as well as
expert-level trails that will challenge even the most elite riders.
Location: Marion County
The trailhead is located about 15 miles north of The Villages, just off US301.