The weather is gorgeous—low humidity, sunny skies with temperatures creeping up on the 80-degree mark, a warm breeze—and the bugs are at bay. It seems as though everyone is on holiday vacation seeking good food they do not have to cook themselves, quality time at home, and a piece of the discount shopping madness. For those looking for a break from capitalism and overcrowded beaches, the Seminole Wekiva Trail provides a jungle-like sanctuary for nature lovers, joggers, and bike enthusiasts.
The Seminole Wekiva Trail is a scenic Rails to Trails project and totals 14 miles, running through Lake Mary, Heathrow, Altamonte Springs, and Sanford. Sanford houses an amazing four-mile loop of the trail, all of which is hidden parallel to side streets and from crazed drivers who are only half sharing the road. The only time trail-lovers have to worry about motor vehicles is while crossing a few of the well-marked streets. Not riding along some of Seminole County’s busiest routes makes this part of the trail perfect for families and of course, the mind-wandering, daydreaming cyclist.
Starting at Sylvan Lake Station at mile marker 10.5, visitors can enjoy one of the flattest and quietest parts of the trail. There is no direct parking at Sylvan Lake, although there is nearby parking close to Seminole Towne Center. Residents not living directly on International Parkway can drive to free parking lots at the Markham Road trailhead—bathrooms included—or in front of Buckingham Estates.
The location and parking is convenient. Bikers, walkers, and joggers almost always extend a cheerful greeting. Some people sing. The trail maintains its peacefulness, as it never seems crowded, but is also safe for the lone wanderer as there are usually always others out and about. Stop along the way to grab a bench with a book or loved one to check out any of the serene vistas.
The views and marshes are plentiful along with the critters. Cows and their calves cautiously eye trail-goers as horses sneak peeks through cracks in a fence. Ducks, frogs, woodpeckers, cats, hawks, and ok, maybe a snake and a warning sign for Yogi Bear are all enveloped in a beautiful, green canopy.
For serious cyclists or the escapist, this Sanford corner of the Seminole Wekiva Trail provides at least 30 minutes to an hour of fresh air and critter watching. Remember to always check the skies for yellow butterflies and the occasional storm cloud. Protect against falling acorns: do not forget your helmet (and some good tunes to keep the pace).