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
- Address: 3201 East Colonial Drive Orlando, FL 32803
- Park’s Website: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/gwt/guide/regions/eastcentral/trails/cadyway.htm
- Distance: 6.5 Miles (total for trail – one way)
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.
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.
Blue Jacket Park/ Baldwin Lake
- Address: 2501 General Rees Avenue
- Park’s Website: http://www.cityoforlando.net/fpr/html/Parks/BlueJacket.htm
- Distance: Loop around Blue Jacket Park = 1 mile/ Loop around Lake Baldwin = 2.5 miles
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.
- 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.
- Starting Address: 400 East Central Boulevard (downtown Publix)
- Link to route on Daily Mile: http://www.dailymile.com/routes/1051979-running-route
- Distance: 5 miles
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.
- 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.
- Starting Address: 3400 Avalon Park East Blvd Orlando, FL 32828
- Link to route on Daily Mile: http://www.dailymile.com/routes/1050165-running-route-in-orlando-fl
- Distance: 10 miles
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.
- 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.
- Address: (Sebastian Trailhead) 371 San Sebastian Prado, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714
- Trail’s Website: http://www.traillink.com/trail/seminole-wekiva-trail.aspx
- Distance: 13 miles
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.
- 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.
- Address: Park Avenue at Welbourne in Winter Park
- Link to route on Daily Mile: http://www.dailymile.com/routes/1049060-running-route-in-winter-park-fl
- Distance: 10 miles
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.
- 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
- Address: See Below
- Website: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/gwt/guide/regions/eastcentral/trails/west_orange.htm
- Distance: Trail is 22 miles
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.
- Address: 8249 Buenavista Woods BV, Orlando, FL 32836
- Link to route on Daily Mile: http://www.dailymile.com/routes/1052356-running-route
- Distance: 8.5 miles
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).
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!