By Gary McKechnie

Last week my wife and I drove over from our home in Mount Dora to the charming town of Winter Garden.

There’s so much to say about this active community, about 20 minutes west of Orlando on the shores of Lake Apopka, that I’ll focus on just one wonderful aspect of this town: the West Orange Trail.

Years ago, a railroad regularly rolled through Winter Garden but after rail traffic began to wane, Orange County Parks & Recreation transformed the line into the 14-foot wide West Orange bike trail where bicyclists, pedestrians, joggers, roller skaters, and skateboarders gather to get their share of exercise and the great outdoors.

The West Orange Trail stretches for 22 miles, and you can base your trip at one of four trailheads: Killarney Station in Oakland; Apopka Station in Apopka; Chapin Station at Crown Point Cross Road in Winter Garden; or in the heart of town at the closest point, the Winter Garden Station on Plant Street.

A success since its premiere (I was amazed when one of the local merchants said that roughly 150,000 people a month roll into town via this very popular path) the West Orange Trail is becoming increasingly popular – and increasingly longer. When complete, the multi-purpose greenway will stretch for 36 miles.

If you’re near Orlando and are looking for a new experience, pump up your tires, strap on your skates, lace up your shoes and drop on over to the West Orange bike trail.

And if you don’t have a bicycle or skates, don’t worry. There are plenty of shops where you can rent all the gear you need to be outdoors, active, and seeing Florida in its best light.

If you go...

The West Orange Trail
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