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General James A. Van Fleet State Trail

 About General James A. Van Fleet State Trail

View of a historic railroad marker on the General James A. Van Fleet State Trail.

A NOTE FROM THE MANAGER

Lucinda Williams, Trail Manager

Although the Gen. James A. Van Fleet State Trail is a paved rail-trail, it is also considered the most rural, or remote trail in Florida. It runs through the Green Swamp, the headwaters for some of Florida’s most popular rivers; the Withlacoochee (South), Hillsborough, and Peace. Landscapes change dramatically from the southern end in Polk City to the northern tip on Highway 50 in Sumter County at the designated neighborhood of Mabel.

Habitats run from true, cedar-laden, green-flecked swamps of the Green Swamp and Withlacoochee State Forest to former citrus lands and cattle ranches, with pines and hardwoods in between. With only one curve in its 29.2 miles, you can choose to go slow and view the multitude of wildlife or enjoy it at a brisk pace. Most of the trail is shaded by the rich variety of trees and in the spring and fall, wildflowers abound.

Some of the wild life you might see….alligators can be seen, when there is water in the Withlacoochee. Also turkey, deer, gopher tortoises, rabbits and even the rare Sherman’s Fox Squirrels. Snakes of every variety also enjoy the warmth of the pavement, so ride and walk with awareness and enjoy those things you may not see in your own back yard even an Alpacae farm 1.5 miles from State Rd 33 in Polk City.Make sure to bring the insect repellant and sunblock. And enjoy the Real Florida.

Four Restrooms: One mile from State Rd 33, Green Pond area, Bay Lake and Mabel 

GETTING HERE

Mabel Trailhead:
7981 County Road 772
Webster, FL 33597
GPS: N 28.5776 / W -81.9768

Bay Lake Trailhead:
7500 Bay Lake Road
Groveland, FL 34736
GPS: N 28.4549 / W -81.9219

Green Pond Road Trailhead:
4903 Green Pond Road
Polk City, FL 33868
GPS: N 28.3199 / W -81.8626

Polk City Trailhead:
7683 Berkley Road
Polk City, FL 33868
GPS: N 28.1805 / W -81.8276

GET INVOLVED

  • For forms, information and benefits of volunteering visit Get Involved.

CONCESSIONAIRES

PET POLICY

  • Florida State Parks Pet Policy
  • Well behaved dogs are allowed on the trail with a maximum six-foot, hand-held leash. Owners are requested to walk their dogs near the edge of the trail, for the safety of all trail users.