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It’s Just a Step to the Left – “Hidden Trail” to the River Off the Seminole Wekiva Trail

If you’re familiar with the Seminole County trail system, you know that many of the trails are paved and not what one would consider being “off-road.”  And that’s the intent. They are safe and beautiful, providing you with hassle-free biking throughout the county.  There are off-road trails like Soldier’s Creek that careen and wind through the dense foliage, and even repeatedly crossing that creek.  It’s not for everyone.  But if you want a little of the frisson from off-road biking but with the safety of a direct and neatly marked trail, check out this little gem.

Just past this sign, more beauty you will find.

Where is it? In Northeast Seminole County, at the corner of Markham Road and Longwood Markham road, the paved Seminole Wekiva Trail takes a 90-degree turn and follows one of these roads, depending on which way you’re taking the trail.  Let’s assume you’re on the Seminole Wekiva Trail, coming from Orange Blvd, snaking along Markham Road westward.   When you reach Longwood Markham road, Markham road ends, and to follow the trail you must turn a hard-right.  But instead, stop and look straight across Longwood Markham and you’ll see this interesting sign stating “Seminole Wekiva Trail – Wekiva River .4 miles.”

If you safely walk your bike across Longwood Markham road, there’s a yellow “gate” that prohibits vehicles from passing but has a nice space for your bike to sneak through.  Sneak you must, beauty you will find.  As you can see from the image, the trail continues along a grassy pathway.  It’s not as smooth as a paved trail but except for a few tree roots you have to bump over, it’s not difficult to traverse.  Keep in mind that you’re heading toward the Wekiva River so it’s going to be downhill this way and more importantly, uphill the way back.  

The view along this grassy way is beautiful and serene. To the left of the pathway is a small estuary that during the rainy season feeds water into the Wekiva River.  To the right, through some trees, is the rear of homes in the Rivercrest subdivision.  But above you are tall arched trees making sure this is a well-shaded pathway. When you get to the end, there’s proof that you’re still on a Seminole Trail. 

Serenity off the pavement of the Seminole Wekiva Trail

While there is a path down to the actual Wekiva River, I would not recommend that you attempt that.  The path peels through the vegetation and down by the river but is swampy and wet well before you are close enough to take in the view.  And you may stumble upon a sunning reptile if you’re not careful.  You can, however, peek through the vegetation and see the river flowing by.  If you look closely at the photo, you can see the blue color of a couple of canoes moseying down the river. 

Side note: if you want a really good view of the river from a new dock, and even the opportunity to rent and launch a canoe, follow the trail down Longwood Markham to SR 46, cross 100 feet of sand and overgrown grass, take a left on the wide sidewalk that parallels the roadway and turn into Wilson’s Landing Park.

In summary, if you crave a little off-road excitement that’s relatively easy to navigate, this hidden gem affords you the chance. And then you can tell all of your friends that you’re an off-road biker as well!

By Guest Writer William Wills, a BWCF volunteer and trail correspondent, is a native of Central Florida. He enjoys the outdoors, and you might find him at the beach or on the trails, biking, blading, or at night viewing the stars through his telescope. 

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