People On Bikes

Orlando Quietly Opens Southern Section of Shingle Creek Regional Trail

Plans for more regional sections underway-

A gem in our regional trail system is gaining even more luster. The Shingle Creek Regional Trail (SCRT) is coming together segment-by-segment, as the City of Orlando’s southernmost section opened in late March. It seamlessly connects to Orange County’s section and one could say this is one of the most scenic parts of Orlando’s SCRT.

The current social distancing situation may have delayed the ribbon cutting and ceremonial opening of the new Orlando section. However, Bike/Walk Central Florida (BWCF) has the inside scoop with a short virtual tour, taken while exploring the trail on a nearly perfect Saturday morning from Destination Parkway to Eagle Nest Park, which you can see in this video.

The Shingle Creek Regional Trail is a multi-use trail that once completed will cover 32-miles and connect the City of Orlando, Orange County, Osceola County and the City of Kissimmee. In its entirety, it will serve as a key north-south connector in a larger network of regional trails, including the Florida Coast-to-Coast Trail, West Orange Trail, Pine Hills Trail, South Lake Trail, Cross Seminole Trail, and Seminole Wekiva Trail.

Orlando SCRT Segments

The Orlando SCRT section is 12-feet wide, has scenic landscapes and takes trail users along the Shingle Creek watershed, which provides the initial headwaters of the Florida Everglades.

  • The original northern portion of the trail starts at Eagle Nest Park, where it meanders around Lake Fran and then heads south to Oak Ridge Road, to east of the Orlando International Premium Outlets.
  • The newly completed two-mile extension lengthens the trail from Oak Ridge Road to Sand Lake Road where it meets the Orange County trail section.
  • The new Orlando section includes two overlook points providing ample opportunities for photos and wildlife viewing. We encountered countless birds and even three otters next to the trail!

City of Orlando Southwest Trail Map (downloadable pdf)

Orange County SCRT Segments

The Orange County portion of the SCRT will be approximately 12 miles long when finished. The completed Orange County section from Sand Lake Road to Destination Parkway runs one-mile along Shingle Creek and features a 14-foot wide path, a rest area, benches and a bicycle rack. It will eventually travel south and meet the Osceola section at the county line.

What’s next for SCRT in Orange County?

  • Orange County is currently finalizing design of a segment that will travel south along Shingle Creek. It will extend from under the Beachline (S.R. 528) to just north of Central Florida Parkway, where it will meet Taft-Vineland Road. The tentative opening is fall 2021.
  • By late 2021 or early 2022, the gap between the Destination Parkway trailhead to Taft-Vineland Road could open as well.
  • The current timetable also calls for another segment of the Shingle Creek Trail, from Taft-Vineland Road to Town Loop Boulevard, to open in late 2021 or early 2022.
  • Final design and construction of the portion of the trail that extends to the Orange/Osceola county line will require future state funding.

Click here for Orange County Shingle Creek Phase Map

Osceola County and City of Kissimmee Trails

A boardwalk along the Shingle Creek Regional Trail in Kissimmee, Osceola County.

Osceola County and the City of Kissimmee are also working to expand their regional trails and connect gaps in the trail system. This is quickly making the area popular for leisurely bike riding, commuting and eco-tourism. The region already boasts miles of bike trails and walking paths.

Osceola County’s Trail Prioritization and Feasibility Study sets the course for closing key gaps along area trails, and it includes proposals and plans for trails throughout the entire county. For more information, you can visit here.

For information about trails in Kissimmee visit https://www.kissimmee.org/our-city/trails.

SCRT in Osceola County and City of Kissimmee

Plans are also in place in both Osceola County and the City of Kissimmee to continue construction of the SCRT and complete the connection to the Orange County line.

The first phase of Osceola County’s SCRT section opened in November 2016. It spans from Hoagland Boulevard, near the Kissimmee Gateway Airport, and proceeds north through Shingle Creek Regional Park’s Steffe Landing. It continues to the Pioneer Village, about a mile and a half north of Vine Street, also known as U.S. Highway 192.

The City of Kissimmee extended the trail farther north along Shingle Creek completing the Tapestry Connector section to the west of Flora Ridge Elementary School. The city also recently completed construction of the Toho Bend and Toho Vista sections. These two southern sections are just west of northern Lake Tohopekaliga and connect to Kissimmee Lakefront Park.

What’s next for SCRT in Kissimmee?

  • The City of Kissimmee anticipates completing construction of the Weston Reserve section of the trail by the end of 2020. This phase will complete the trail from Vine Street to Osceola Parkway.
  • Final design plans for the remaining sections of the trail in Kissimmee, including a bridge over Osceola Parkway, are under review by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).
  • To the south and connecting to the Toho Vista section of the trail, the Yates connector phase is also being reviewed by FDOT.
  • Ultimately, the Kissimmee sections of the SCRT will connect to the Orange County sections along John Young Parkway, just south of Hunters Creek.

Learn more, see more, do more

The City of Orlando, Orange County and the Regional Planning Commission are collaborating on a trail map to encompass the region. BWCF will let you know as soon as we hear it is ready. In the meantime, for a healthy list of trail options in the region and state, click here for our resources page.

An overlook along Orlando’s new section of Shingle Creek Regional Trail

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,