Getting There: Navigating the Hidden Entrances
The pathways to North Port's treasured biking trail may be slightly off the beaten path, but that's what makes it all the more rewarding for avid cyclists. Located in Florida's North Port city, this trail provides a heart-racing adventure for those brave enough to seek it out.Lady Slipper Parking Lot:
- Take I-75 to Exit 182 Sumter Blvd (old exit 32).
- Head South on Sumter towards North Port/US 41.
- Make a right on Lady Slipper (first right approx .5 mile).
- Stay on Lady Slipper. Continue left past a 2-story house, then follow the road through a rugged section.
- The park entrance will be on the left with the trailhead near the creek to the left of the creek crossing. However, facilities are absent, but essentials are available at the Sumter & Price intersection's 7-11 & Publix.
Ball Field Parking Lot:
- Proceed on Sumter towards North Port/US 41 for about 2.2 miles.
- At the first traffic light (with 7/11), turn right on Price Blvd towards North Port High School.
- For the trailhead, cross Price Blvd, turn right on the sidewalk, cross the bridge, and then make an immediate left. Choices abound - you can either head left (under the bridge for about 2.5 miles of tight, technical loops) or right (which directs you towards the spillway and Lady Slipper). This section comes equipped with facilities & vending machines.
Trail Highlights: A Cyclist's Perspective
- Distance: 9 mi
- Level: Intermediate
- Route Type: Loop
- City: North Port, Florida
With its myriad of twists, turns, small drop-ins, and numerous roots, the North Port trail offers a comprehensive workout for cyclists. However, newcomers should be wary of the limited signage and several forks. The thrill lies in exploration, as different routes present themselves at every corner.Some striking features include:
- A sign humorously indicating "Parking to the left, Bears to the right."
- A charming bridge near the start of the North Loop, although its rotting boards may need a cautious approach.
- A serene bench by the creek, perfect for a brief respite.
While the trail might be challenging due to the abundant palmetto roots and several tight hairpin turns, the surrounding beauty compensates with sights of native flora, fauna, and even the occasional alligator. A word of caution for rainy days: the trail can get slick, and respecting the pathways is crucial to maintain their pristine condition.
- Newcomers often find the trail challenging to locate. The easiest access point is underneath the bridge on W Price, just east of the community center.
- The trail condition was exceptional last week, nicely packed and without soggy patches. However, the dam posed a challenge. The trail maintenance is commendable.
- For those with a keen eye, wildlife sightings are abundant. From the harmless, cute doe to the more intimidating alligator, there's always something to spot.
- Respect for local riders is paramount. It's essential to avoid damaging the trail, especially during the wet or rainy season. There are alternative trails within a 20-min drive if conditions are unfavorable.