I’m an avid cyclist and mountain biker and lived in Jacksonville, FL for 6 years. Here are my favorite bike trails in Jacksonville

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Key Points:

  • Hanna Park has some of the best mountain biking in Jacksonville, as well as a nice lake, campgrounds, and a splash pad for the kids. 
  • The Baldwin Rail Trail is probably the best place for road cycling. It is about 14.5 miles long and runs through farmland and neighborhoods.
  • Other great places for riding include Tillie Fowler, Riverwalk, and Amelia Island. There are some short but sweet trails at Black Creek Nature Preserve in Fleming Island.

You may not think of Jacksonville as being a cycling destination, but there are actually a ton of great places to go here. And despite its reputation, much of Jacksonville is bike and pedestrian friendly. 

The St. Johns River runs through the middle of the city, and sometimes you can spot manatees (I’ve heard you can spot whales on a rare occasion, but haven’t ever personally seen one).

I lived in Jacksonville for 6 years and have been biking all over the First Coast, including a couple of longer bike rides from the Riverside-Avondale area to Jacksonville Beach and Ponte Vedra. These are my favorite places to ride.

Baldwin Rail Trail

Not sure what my son is thinking in this picture, but he’s pondering something while he walks the Baldwin Trail!

Road biking (paved trails)

Cycling at the Baldwin Rail Trail begins in west Jax and ends in Baldwin. This former railroad corridor has been transformed into a paved, multi-use trail that stretches for 14.5 miles.

The trail itself mostly goes through farmland and quiet neighborhoods. There is plenty of parking on both ends, and some parking mid-way as well. Restrooms are available in multiple spots throughout the trail as well.

One nice thing about the trail is that they also have some bike pumps and repair tools available.

I personally ended up cycling the Jacksonville side more often, just because it was closer to my house. But the Baldwin side is really pretty too.

Tillie Fowler Regional Park

In addition to the singletrack, there’s a boardwalk that can be a nice place for a walk during the right time of the year.

Mountain biking (singletrack)

I lived in Avondale, so Tillie Fowler was my go-to mountain biking spot. It has a good network of singletrack trails that are mostly used by mountain bikers, so it’s rare you will see hikers here. 

The trails range from very easy, winding through the pine forest, to difficult terrain with ramps and jumps. I’ve always found the trails to be very well marked, so you don’t have to worry about ending up on a trail that’s too difficult for your skill level.

Parking is never a problem here, and there are also restrooms that are (usually) pretty clean. There are lots of picnic tables and a playground for the kids.

One thing to note: it’s kind of a swampy area, so if you come in summer there are tons of mosquitos. I never had a problem as long as I kept riding. But if I stopped long enough to take a break, I would get eaten up by them.

Riverwalk

Road cycling (Paved Trail)

Everyone loves Jacksonville’s Riverwalk. It runs for about 2 miles on the Riverside side of the river, and for about the same distance on the San Marco side. The views are great and there is a lot of wildlife (I already mentioned manatees, but also herons and other birds). 

The Alsop Bridge connects the two and does have a pedestrian only area, so you are safe to at least walk your bike across. It’s a little narrow to ride, unless there isn’t anyone coming in the other direction.

There are benches along the path, some with shade. One of my favorite spots here is Corkscrew Park, a free outdoor gym with pull up bars, parallel bars, rings, weights, and more. In the right season, it felt amazing working out outside, feeling the breeze coming off the water!

Black Creek Park and Trail

The turn for this park is easy to miss, because the sign is so small. Slow down when you get close to the bridge! It’s a real hassle if you have to turn around.

Mountain biking (singletrack)

This one is in Fleming Island, south of Orange Park. There are fewer trails here than Tillie Fowler, but I do like the main loop. It is a nice beginner to intermediate-friendly loop that runs a few miles through the woods. 

There are also a few shorter loops right next to the parking lot. All are multi-use trails, and you tend to see more hikers here than at Tille Fowler.

There are restrooms here and a small paved trail. No playgrounds or other entertainment for the kids, though.

Hanna Park

Mgreason at English Wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Mountain biking (singletrack)

The only reason I didn’t basically live at Hanna Park was because it was too far from my house. Otherwise, this is by far the best mountain biking in Jacksonville. 

They have miles and miles of trails here, of varying difficulty. They are sweet, fast-paced trails with great turns and twists. Most of them may not be the best for complete beginners, but even intermediate riders like myself can have a great time here.

The lake is a nice place to park, and it’s easy to find a trailhead from there. If you’re coming with family, they can enjoy some time out on the lake or check out the splash park.

Amelia Island

Road biking (paved trails)

This list would be missing something if I didn’t mention Amelia Island. Who doesn’t love Amelia Island? The best part is that there are miles and miles of paved trails that go all over the island. It’s Florida, so they are completely flat of course. 

These are popular trails where you can also enjoy the regular beach access points dotted throughout.

Other places to bike

You may see these trails on other sites, and they do exist. They just aren’t really among my favorites in town.

  • Losco Regional Park is on the east side of Jacksonville, in Mandarin. They have a few miles of mountain biking trails. Overall, I like the pace of Tillie Fowler better. But if you’re in the area, they have a few different loops for you to get your fix.
  • Bulls Bay Preserve is a lesser-known park that’s pretty close to the Baldwin Rail trail. I spent a lot of time during the height of the COVID pandemic here because there was no one else there. They do have some mountain biking trails, and they aren’t bad. They are just pretty short and not quite as smooth riding as other places in town.
  • Julington Durbin Creek Nature Preserve is a place everyone seems to talk about when they talk about mountain biking in the area. I just didn’t like it that much. Most of the trails are doubletrack and just run straight through the forest, with no loops, twists, or much of anything. That being said, it’s probably a great course for anyone who doesn’t mountain bike but wants to ride through the woods.
  • There is a small paved path at Little Talbot Island, but again it’s short and not very interesting. If you go to that park, I would spend the time enjoying the beach instead.


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