Santos Mountain Biking Park, sprawled across a whopping 81,290 acres in Ocala, Florida, is not just a biking trail but a testament to Florida's adaptability and ingenuity. A glorious repurposing of the halted Cross Florida Barge Canal from the late 60s, the park's official moniker is the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway. With trails stretching far and wide across the Sunshine State, this park specifically pays homage to the small town where its main trailhead is located.
Every trail color marking at Santos signifies a skill level: yellow for beginners, blue for the intermediate, and red for the advanced. Cyclists can expect a plethora of terrains, from the flat and benign to the rocky and precipitous. A significant chunk of the advanced biking experience centers around two abandoned mining pits, making for thrilling drops and inclines.For newcomers, the vast network might be a bit overwhelming. Therefore, keeping a map and compass at hand is advisable. Yet, should one find themselves directionally challenged, the friendly locals are always eager to guide. With such an expansive trail network, multiple days of riding can be planned without repeating a single track.
Directions provided by Dana Farnsworth at www.outdoortravels.com: From I-75, take the Hwy. 484 (Belleview exit) and venture about 2 miles west until reaching Hwy. 475. A northbound turn on Hwy 475 for approximately 4 to 5 miles will lead to S.E. 80th Street. Heading east, the entrance unveils itself on the right, just a short distance from SR 441, unmistakably marked with a 'Santos Trailhead' sign.
In essence, Santos is a crown jewel of Florida's mountain biking scene. While the state might lack towering mountains, it compensates with intricate trail designs that promise miles of excitement, thrill, and challenges for every biking enthusiast.