Experiences & Amenities
The trail has a paved surface ideal for bicycling. Because it traverses through mostly natural areas, there is ample opportunity go slow and view the wildlife or enjoy it at a brisk pace. Be sure to bring plenty of drinking water with you. The only potable water sources are at the Polk City, Green Pond and Mable trail heads. Helmets are highly recommended for all cyclists and Florida law requires helmets for cyclists age 16 and under.
In addition to the picnic pavilions at each trail head, there are also numerous benches along the trail that make a good place to stop, rest and eat a snack.
The trail’s paved surface and straight corridor makes it a popular place for roller blading. For your protection we recommend wearing a helmet, knee pads and elbow pads.
Whether you are walking, jogging, hiking or running, the 29.2 miles of paved trail is a great place for these activities. Some sections are quite remote and isolated so be sure to bring plenty of drinking water. We also recommend appropriate footwear (closed toed-comfortable walking/running shoes) sunscreen, insect repellant and sun hat. Remember to only travel half as far as you plan to walk to allow for the return trip unless you make plans to have someone pick you up at one of the four trailheads.
The Green Swamp provides a great place to view wildlife such as white-tail deer, alligator, raccoon, opossum, snakes and turtles just to name a few. A variety of birds can also be seen such as American bald eagle, osprey and barred owl. Please give the animals “right of way” and remember that it is unlawful and dangerous to feed any of the wildlife. Taking pictures from a safe distance is always encouraged.
The General James A. Van Fleet State Trail is committed to providing a variety of accessible amenities to all visitors. Our amenities include:
- 29.2 miles of paved surface trail
- Pavilions at each of the 4 trailheads
Parking is available at four locations (trailheads) along the trail:
- Polk City Trailhead (Polk County) - 7683 Berkley Road, Polk City, FL 33968 – GPS Coordinates N28⁰ 10.867 W081⁰49.662
- Green Pond Trailhead (Polk County) - 4903 Green Pond Road, Polk City, FL 33868 - GPS Coordinates N28⁰ 19.131 W081⁰51.737
- Bay Lake Trailhead (Lake County) - 7500 Bay Lake Road, Groveland, FL 34736 - GPS Coordinates N28⁰ 27.328 W081⁰55.347
- Mabel Trailhead (Sumter County) - 7981 CR 772 Webster, FL 35597 – GPS Coordinates N28⁰ 34.711 W081⁰58.597
Horse Equestrian Trail
Horseback riding is welcome. We do ask, however, that you ride only on the 5-foot mowed shoulder that runs along both sides of the paved trail. Please be sure to bring proof of negative Coggins.
Well-behaved dogs are welcome on the trail. They must be kept on a handheld leash that is six feet or shorter in length. Dog owners are required to pick up after their pets and properly dispose of their droppings. “Dog friendly” drinking fountains are located at the Polk City and Green Pond trail heads.
Accessible picnic pavilions with tables and grill are located at the Polk City, Green Pond, Bay Lake and Mabel trailheads. There is also a covered picnic table near Mile Marker 25 North.
Restrooms are provided at the Green Pond, Bay Lake and Mabel Trail Heads and approximately 1/2 mile north of the Polk City Trailhead.
The entire length of the 29.2 mile trail has an 8' wide paved surface and is well suited for visitors who use mobility devices such as wheelchairs, walkers and canes. Other power-driven mobility devices which are approved by the park are permitted where foot traffic is allowed. For additional information, contact the Park Manager’s office at (352) 394-3969.