Green Mountain Scenic Byway: High on Visuals

    By Dalia Colon

    Where: In Central Florida just west of Orlando, stretching from Mount Dora down to Winter Garden.

    Length: 19 miles.

    How to get around: Car, bicycle or motorcycle.

    Best time to visit: October to March is known as Central Florida’s festival season, with events including the Wings and Wildflowers Festival in October, Birdapalooza in February.

    Fun fact: Central Florida is one of the state’s premiere destinations for antiquing and flea markets.

    For more info: Check out greenmountainbyway.org.
     

    The roads are covered with moss-cloaked oaks along the Green Mountain Scenic Byway on the western and southern edge of Lake Apopka.

    The roads are covered with moss-cloaked oaks along the Green Mountain Scenic Byway on the western and southern edge of Lake Apopka.

    Tom Burton for VISIT FLORIDA

    The Green Mountain Scenic Byway, while also popular with car clubs, is a prime spot for touring and competitive cyclists who like to train on the hills.

    The Green Mountain Scenic Byway, while also popular with car clubs, is a prime spot for touring and competitive cyclists who like to train on the hills.

    Tom Burton for VISIT FLORIDA


    First things first: There are no mountains in Florida.

    “Except there are,” contends Greg Gensheimer president and chairman of Green Mountain Scenic Byway Inc.

    By “mountain,” Gensheimer means Sugarloaf Ridge, which at 312 feet above sea level has bragging rights as the highest point in Central Florida. Folks may quibble as to whether Green Mountain deserves its name (the moniker refers to the town of Montverde on the outskirts of Orlando), but one thing’s certain: the view doesn’t disappoint.

    “It’s pretty spectacular when you’re up there, because everything else is ironing board flat,” said Gensheimer. The scenic overlook offers spectacular views of Orlando, Lake Apopka and the surrounding nature preserves below.

    One thing’s certain on Green Mountain Scenic Byway: the view doesn’t disappoint.

    One thing’s certain on Green Mountain Scenic Byway: the view doesn’t disappoint.

    Tom Burton for VISIT FLORIDA

    A heron checks out the surroundings near the Green Mountain Scenic Byway.

    A heron checks out the surroundings near the Green Mountain Scenic Byway.

    Tom Burton for VISIT FLORIDA


    Speaking of birds’-eye views, the byway is one of Florida’s most attractive spots for birdwatching, with more than 360 species of birds nestled in its canopy.

    The area’s hills, curves and picturesque views make it a popular destination for motorcyclists and triathletes in training. In fact, one of the biggest events of the year is the Horrible Hundred bicycle race in November.

    Athletes looking to replenish their energy can head for a cold pint of craft beer at Crooked Can Brewing Company in historic Winter Garden. And for a family-friendly option there’s, Gensheimer said you “can’t go wrong” with brunch on the front porch of the picturesque Lakeside Inn.

    Photos by Tom Burton for VISIT FLORIDA

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