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My Favorite Running Routes in Orlando

by Meghann on March 15, 2012

This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for awhile. :)

First of all, Orlando is BIG. Ok. Not as big as most major cities, but it is fairly spread out. If you’re staying near Disney World or off of International Drive without access to a car, it’s difficult to get around. However, I did find this site with tips on where to run on Disney property. The tips are organized by hotel and are pretty easy to follow. It’s worth bookmarking if you plan on staying on Disney property in the near future.

If you’re not staying on Disney property – or are a local looking for a new place to run – here are my favorite trails and routes to run in Orlando. Let me know if you have any to add in the comments below!

Cady Way Trail

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From website:

Access/Directions:

Southern Trailhead

From Interstate 4 in downtown Orlando… exit on SR 50 (Colonial Drive) and proceed east approximately 2.5 miles to Herndon Avenue. Turn left. The trailhead is located .5 miles north, adjacent to the Fashion Square Mall and the Post Office.

From SR 436 (Semoran Blvd)… turn west on to SR 50 (Colonial Drive) and proceed approximately 1.5 miles to Herndon Avenue. Turn right. The trailhead is located .5 miles north, adjacent to the Fashion Square Mall and the Post Office.

Northern Trailhead

From SR 436 (Semoran Blvd)… turn west on to SR 426 (Aloma Avenue) heading towards Winter Park. Proceed to Ranger Blvd. Turn south (left). Proceed to Cady Way and turn west (right). The trailhead is located at Cady Way Park.

Cady Way Trail has a couple of trailheads, but the one I’m most familiar with is the main one behind Orlando Fashion Square Mall. You have to be careful, it’s hidden in the side parking – and if you blink – you might miss it. This is a nice trail with plenty of shade and a few water fountains along the way.

The trail is 6.5 miles long, but it easily connects with the Cross Seminole Trail, so you could go a little further if you need the distance. This is a paved trail that’s also a favorite of cyclists.

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Blue Jacket Park/ Baldwin Lake

Blue Jacket Park Running Route.png

This is one of my favorite places to run in Orlando. My Team in Training running group used to meet here every Monday and Saturday and I loved exploring the area with them. The best part about this park/route is you can make it what ever you want it to be.

One loop around Blue Jacket Park (the large green patch in the map above) is equivalent to 1 mile. This is great for judging tempo runs sans a GPS unit. The park paths easily connects to Lake Baldwin, which has a great running path that circles the entire lake (and is always full of people, so you’re never alone). The running path around the lake is approximately 2.5 miles. In the past, I’ve repeated the loop around the lake over and over again or I’ve explored the surrounding Baldwin Park neighborhoods to get the mileage in.

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*Tips*

  • The path around the lake is largely unshaded and get’s pretty hot and sticky in the summertime.
  • There are water fountains scattered throughout Blue Jacket Park, but none on the Baldwin Park lake path. If you need water there’s a Publix with a cold water fountain not too far off of it or you can run into the Fleet Peeples Dog Park on the lake and find a water fountain there.
  • There’s a track in Blue Jacket Park that is amazing for getting speed workouts in.

Downtown Orlando

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This is a great route if you are staying in downtown Orlando for work or pleasure. You can add or subtract as you see fit by adding in loops of the lakes or opting to not go around them.

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*Tips*

  • It’s about .8 miles to make a complete loop of Lake Eola. If you don’t feel like exploring, you could just keep repeating that loop until you reach your goal distance.
  • There are plenty of metered parking spots that surround Lake Eola. All metered spots in downtown are free before 8:00am and after 6:00pm Monday-Saturday and free all day Sunday.
  • I created this route with a starting point at the downtown Publix because that’s where I always start, but you could really start anywhere around the lake and be fine.

Avalon Park

Avalon Park 10 mile running loop.png

This was a go-to route when Caitlin and MegaNerd lived in Orlando (I miss running with them!). It’s a pretty easy one to add and subtract from (I know one time the two of them turned it into a 22 miler!) and it goes through some nice, quiet, and safe (!) neighborhoods in East Orlando. It’s not terribly scenic, but it’s a good route that’s easy to follow.

*Tips*

  • The above map has the route starting at the Avalon Park Publix, but I’ve also run it where we’ve started at Waterford Lakes since you run right by it.
  • You pass a few Walgreens and grocery stores on the way if you need water, but I would also highly recommend bringing your own water and fuel as well – there aren’t as many options in the last half to stop.
  • If you’re not familiar with Avalon Park, I would suggest planning to have breakfast here after your run. Go to Davis Bakery, order a bagel sandwich, and eat it outside while taking in the adorable neighborhood.

Wekiva Trail

Wekiva Trail.png

When I lived in Orlando, I used to run this trail A LOT. A lot. A lot. A lot. Not that there was anything particularly special about it, but my apartment was exactly 2.3 miles from the trailhead. For long runs, I would start at my apartment, run to the trailhead, and continue on the trail until it was time to turn around. I know this trail like the back of my hand.

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*Tips*

  • There are a few trailheads, but San Sebastian is the one I’m most familiar with. It’s also where the ’0′ mile marker is, so – if you start here – it’s easier to track your mileage with the mile markers if you don’t have a Garmin.
  • There are water fountains every couple of miles, but I would recommend bringing your own fluids just in case.
  • This trail is cyclists heavy, so make sure to stay aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • At mile 7 there’s a Panera and cute little cafe that cyclists love to stop at on the weekends. It gets pretty crowded, but if you like making friends – it’s a good place for a little break.

Winter Park

10 Mile Winter Park Route.png

If you are in the Orlando area and haven’t run with the Orlando Runner’s Club at 7:00am on a Sunday morning – do it! When I first moved to Orlando, I found the group online and reached out to them (Jack, who organizes the Sunday runs, is such a sweetheart. He’s 80 and regularly runs more miles than I do in a week). The weekly run covers a variety of distances and is open to all abilities. I was always able to find someone that was my speed to partner up with on the runs.

The above route is a very similar route (don’t quote me exactly!) to the one the ORC covers. It’s a BEAUTIFUL run that takes you around Winter Park’s gorgeous neighborhoods. It’s also a very peaceful run since most of the neighborhoods aren’t even up yet.

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*Tips*

  • There aren’t any water fountains, so make sure to carry your own.
  • The route takes your right by Blue Jacket Park and Lake Baldwin – if you need to add distance, this is a great area to loop around.
  • After the run be sure to check out my FAVORITE breakfast spot in all of Orlando – Briarpatch. There’s a guaranteed wait after 9:30 on the weekends, but you should be seated right away anytime before then. Trust me on this one. ;)

West Orange Trail

West Orange Trail.jpg

Access/Directions:

County Line Station
From Orlando, take SR 50 west past Winter Garden. After you pass the Florida Turnpike, look for County Line Station on your right near the county line between Orange and Lake counties.

Winter Garden Station
From Orlando, take SR 50 west to 9th Street in Winter Garden. Take a right (heading north) until you reach CR 438 (Plant Street). Take a left, and head west until you reach Winter Garden Station.

West Orange Trail is one of the top cycling trails in Orlando because of it’s length and location. Even though it’s a well known cycling trail, it’s great for running too. Lots of shade, no stopping, and it’s a pretty scenic run through the backside of Florida. If I had lived closer to it, I’m sure I would have ran it more often, but it was a good 30 min+ drive away. I did make it over there when I trained with Team in Training on the trail. It’s a great group spot to meet with friends.

Dr. Phillips

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I only ran this trail once with Gina when she lived in Orlando. The starting location is a nice family park and the route takes you through some cookie cutter houses of Dr. Phillips. There’s nothing special about this route, but it’s a safe location to run if you’re staying off of International Drive or near Universal (both aren’t too far from here).

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And that’s all I’ve got. ;)

Orlando is covered with great running trails and routes. This is just a list of my favorites that I used to run pretty regularly when I lived in the area. If you have any to add, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. If I get enough, I’ll do a part II! :)

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Blair March 15, 2012 at 12:52 pm

You need to do a Tampa running route post :)

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2 Andrea @ Run, Eat, Date, Sleep March 15, 2012 at 1:05 pm

GREAT list! I am definitely bookmarking! I usually run around Celebration, but I don’t really have a specific route. I also really love Lake Louisa out in Clermont for hill workouts.
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3 Heather March 15, 2012 at 1:22 pm

These are great. There is also the Little Econ Greenway at Blanchard Park. This is a great trail and long enough to do a run and bike workout if you are tri training. We ran hear a lot when we lived in Orlando.

The UCF Campus is also a great place to run. You can add miles by running down into research park.
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4 Stephanie March 15, 2012 at 1:22 pm

LOVE this!!! I moved to Orlando just under 3 years ago and have run several similar routes…Running around Avalon was my go-to when I lived out by Waterford Lakes

Andddd I live in Baldwin Park now if anyone ever wants a running buddy :D

Seriously though…

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5 Faith @ For the Health of It March 15, 2012 at 2:06 pm

I totally need a running buddy! We should meet up!

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6 Mary @ food and fun on the run March 15, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Definitely the trails over by UCF – Barr Street, Chuluota, etc. I used to love running in those trails!!!
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7 Janine @ThePurpleGiraffe March 15, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Wow! Very comprehensive! Now if only I lived in FL…
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8 Carolina @ Peas in a Blog March 15, 2012 at 1:36 pm

This list is spot on & SO awesome Meghann, love it! My fave route on here is the Winter Park one, you’re right, it’s absolutely beautiful. I highly recommend it!
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9 Danielle March 15, 2012 at 1:49 pm

This is so ridiculously helpful. I have cousins that live in Orlando and I’m definitely going to send this along…/plan my next trip there ;) thank you!
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10 Christine March 15, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Yay! I was hoping you’d mention Winter Park (I was especially pleased you mentioned Jack, who is the Running King and knows EVERYONE along the way).

As a heads up, if 10 miles scares anyone, part of the beauty of our Sunday morning runs is, like Meghann said, you can usually find someone to run your distance, your pace. We have people consistently run anywhere from 6 (you can turn early to do less than that) to 10 miles, from sub-9s to upper 12s. And everyone is so gosh darn friendly. Love runners!!
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11 Robin March 15, 2012 at 2:22 pm

I just bookmarked this post. My family and I go to Orlando nearly every summer and something I have come to look forward to is the Wekiva Trail. Last summer, we booked a hotel right down the street from the trail so that I could get my long run in before we headed to Disney. I may try some of your other suggestions next time.
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12 Cait's Plate March 15, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Such a great post! This is so helpful for when traveling!
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13 Jen @ Whittle My Middle March 15, 2012 at 2:44 pm

I so could have use this last year when I was in Orlando. We ended up finding a lake and running around it (I can’t remember the name though). If I’m ever back there I’ll definitely take a look at this!
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14 Kristen @ notsodomesticated March 15, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Um you’re ever in the Atlanta area, I’d love some tips on running routes around here haha!!! ;)
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15 Tracey March 15, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Even though I run all over Orlando as it is, these specific routes were really helpful! Thanks so much for the post. Great info!

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16 Justine Duppong @ Life With Cheeseburgers March 15, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Lol I thought your first route was “Candy Way”: I think that would inspire me to get out and go running!!
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17 Michelle March 15, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Orlando is a VERY run friendly city!

You can now add an extra 16 miles to the Avalon route because of the Innovation Way extension (it’s a very popular bike route). The dump, the power plant, and the solar power farm all add to the scenic beauty :)

If you google “OUC Half Marathon routes” you’ll find a whole bunch of 13-14 mile routes that start/end near downtown as well. They are required to change the course every year – so there are a lot of them!
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18 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife March 15, 2012 at 3:57 pm

WOW–looks awesome! such gorgeous trails there :)
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19 Courtney March 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm

I recently graduated from UCF and Blanchard Park was my spot for those lovely college years. It doesn’t have much shade, but it’s relatively long, was close by, never too crowded, and interesting enough to keep me entertained. :)
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20 jackie March 15, 2012 at 9:03 pm

thank you! i recently moved to orlando, so this post is incredibly helpful :-)

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21 Lynda@ Hit The Road Jane March 15, 2012 at 9:24 pm

I love running new routes but I’ve been too busy to find any in Jacksonville. I’m going to try to put the effort into expanding my run route now. Sounds like Orlando has a great deal of them!!
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22 Scott September 11, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. In town for a few days and wondering where the heck I could get a long run in. Now I know.

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23 Jannie711 January 5, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Thank you for the info!!

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24 Jess January 21, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Hey there, thanks for the post on running routes. I am looking for a track that is open to the public. Do you know of one? Thanks.

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25 Meghann January 21, 2013 at 1:14 pm

I used to use the track at Blue Jacket Park near Lake Baldwin.

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26 Paula Kiger (Big Green Pen) March 11, 2013 at 10:28 am

This is great — I am going on a business trip to Orlando today and I sometimes end up stuck w/a treadmill or office park. Will have a rental car so may be able to use this – thanks again!!!!!
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27 kevin May 27, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Hi — I’m looking for a trail with dirt paths — no concrete or asphalt. Any ideas?
Thanks!

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28 Julie October 29, 2013 at 11:47 am

Hi Meghann!
This is amazing…but I’m still a little lost.
I have to come for business next week – staying at the Peabody.
Are any of these trails remotely close? Do you have any suggestions.
I have to run 5-6 miles a day or I WILL go NUTS.

Thank you!!!!

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29 Tucker November 3, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Thanks for taking the time to set up this website. I was in town for the weekend looking for a run. I ran the Cady trail. Very nice easy 6 mile out and back. Thanks again.

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30 Annie December 27, 2013 at 5:43 am

Ooh what a fab post! I am relocating in the next 18months or so and was worried about places to go, scenery/variety and locations and what not but this post covers loads and will be bookmarked for when I do make the move. Thank you!

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31 Mark January 24, 2014 at 6:35 pm

Hello!

I will be in Orlando next week for work at Chep. I’m staying by Universal Studios. I’d like to get some evening (after 5) runs. Any route suggestions? I’d like to run anything from 5-10 miles, but will take anything safe.

Any suggestions are appreciated!
Mark

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32 Ricki February 21, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Hi Meghann,

We just booked a hotel in Kissimee – just outside of Disneyworld. I don’t have access to a car. but I like running longer than 8 miles. Do you have any trail routes you might suggest for someone who doesn’t have a car? the shuttle buses take us to the parks……i’d be greatful for any suggestions as i don’t want to run neighbourhoods and prefer trails…….many thanks!

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33 Meghann February 22, 2014 at 6:43 pm

Hi Ricki, Unfortunately I’m not familiar with the Kissimmee area. Here’s a list of running routes on Disney property: http://allears.net/btp/running.htm

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34 kevin February 22, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Hi Ricki,
The lack of sidewalks in Florida is a real bummer — kinda cramps one’s style if you don’t have a car. The best I was able to manage was to run around the lake at Disney’s COronado Springs resort. It’s not an idyllic run through the woods, but it’s better than a treadmill. Good luck — post if you find something interesting!

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35 Rachel March 21, 2014 at 11:22 am

Just stumbled onto your blog checking out places to run in Orlando! Moving down there May 16th and I couldn’t be more excited. Such a helpful list of trails, just what I was looking for! Thanks! =)

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36 Stan June 12, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Circle B Ranch in Polk County … 1 hour from Orlando but worth the drive. Awesome trails

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