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Level: Beginner
Length: 22 mi (35.4 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: +261/273 ft
Total: 50 riders

Mountain Biking Paisley Woods Trail

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#106 of 285 mountain bike trails in Florida
#3,436 in the world

Mostly flat singletrack with lots of miles and wildlife. About the halfway point there is a cut-trough to make it only a 10 mile loop. There are recreation areas at the north and south areas for a break. Look out for fallen trees, un-marked trails, sand, and even drifters.

First added by darrinw2001 on May 29, 2009. Last updated May 4, 2021. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: no
  • Lift service: no
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: no
  • Restrooms: no
  • Fat bike grooming: no
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: no
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
From Orlando, take I-4 north to Deland exit 118 (SR44) west. 3 miles past Deland, take County road 42 west 12 miles to Paisley. The Trail Head is in the Clearwater Lake Recreation Area of the Ocala National Forest about 3 miles past Paisley on CR42 on the right.
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Paisley Woods Trail Trail map

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dlaido (on Apr 4, 2020)
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Good (on Apr 4, 2020)
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  • Lakeemma

    This trail is quite scenic, quiet and hardly used. My gps clocked 19.4 miles starting at The Clearwater Recreation Area trailhead and 684' of vertical. The only con is the frequent sugar sand, which made for a rather strenuous ride, beginners would hate it. Last time i started at Alexander Springs and it was real nice coming back to at the end, since I had a towel and change of clothes, should have taken lunch for a picnic. Nice campground at Clearwater Lake Recreation Area too. Saw a fox squirrel, whitetail, and a turkey. Will do it again, the sugar sand shouldn't be as bad after a rain.

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  • PiveyBass

    Not extremely technical, but a couple area that will test you based on how aggressive you choose to be. Some great climbs and descents. - being that the trail is in Florida

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  • mtbtrailrider

    Trail was in good condition, any damage from Erma has been cleaned up. I guess, due to no rain for a while, the sand was quite soft in places. This was my wife's 3rd mountain bike ride and it was a really good trail for her to ride.

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  • rgrowe

    1/3 Sand; 1/3 marginal; 1/3 good shape. They are working on the trail to improve, especially the south half. It's a killer if you are not in good shape. So hard pushing sand, and no bail-outs. Actually a good trail to ride if you want a workout. Because of sand you frequently need to pump going downhill. Difficult to get speed because you will spin out on corners due to sand.

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  • Hap Proctor   ✓ supporter

    Two beginner XC loops that form a loose figure 8 ride of 22 mfiles total or approximately half that if you choose only one loop. Basically flat, no rocks or roots. There is a bit of sand, especially when crossing jeep or utility trails. Probably best just after a rain.
    Great ride for single speed or rigid bike.

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  • fini

    Fun little trail. It was nice and quite and just out and away from it all. I do have to say even an easy trail like this really showed me having the wrong size bike has a huge effect. All and all other than the sand(and lots of it), places where the trail crosses atv trails its worse, it was a nice relaxing ride for me.

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  • ***

    It's hard the sand makes it rough going. No shade very hot bring lots of water. Up side Alexander springs is refreshing. Down side you have to ride back through all that sand. Did I mention the tree trunks. Hot hot very hot. Not recommended for beginners.

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  • Jetnjeff29r

    Santos is plenty fun, but I needed a change of venue, to switch things up for my long ride. Even the green trails at Santos are fairly twisty, which is more fun in general, but makes it harder to do sustained endurance riding, when you are accelerating out of turn after turn. Most riders are not concerned with this. But if you are and would rather not get your long ride on the road, Paisley Woods certainly fits the bill. The main loop is about 19 miles with a half a mile feeder. There is a cut off to make a half loop. I was running about hour and a half laps, so multiple laps are need to get the higher durations. The Paisley Woods trail has a different feel in each direction, so between that and the half loop you can put most any duration rides together without getting bored.
    Wider tires, such as 2.35 or 2.4s work best in the occasional sugar sand. I got to try out a 2.35 Maxxis Ikon up front for the first time. I have had it for a while, but was waiting for a tire to wear out. I switched back to the 2.2 for the half lap at the end to compare. Even at the same 20 psi the 2.35 felt less harsh and I should be able to run it a bit softer.

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  • ****

    We rode the upper loop from the northern trailhead today. The east side of that loop has more sugar sand than the west side. Overall, the trail is in great shape for the summer time, with only a few dozen loose spots. The southern loop was in better shape. Enjoyed the ride and scenery.

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  • ****

    My wife and I rode the 11 mile loop starting at Clearwater Lake trailhead and really enjoyed it. The trail was clear, in great shape, marked well and very scenic. This trail is open and allows you to keep a good pace. There were only a few spots where we hit some loose sand....not an issue at all. We will be coming back for the loop from Alexander Springs soon.

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  • disbelief0

    Enough sugar sand to make for a lot of tough going. Markings are sometimes missing or hard to spot -- I went off-trail a few times. This was my first ever serious ride, and I thought it was exhausting and physically draining. Definitely not for a beginner.* Review edited 8/16/2011

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  • GoKite5

    Lots of miles, cross country style with slight elevation gains and losses. Only challenge is the sugar sand. Generally not recommended to ride, easily get lost and there can also be down trees mid trail and a fair amount of sun exposure. I rate it intermediate only because even taking the short loop a beginner would have a hard time considering the sugar sand, lack of markings, distance without cut out, and summer sun exposure. Upside, it is 22 miles and if the sugar sand isn't too bad you can get a good cadence and a good work out.

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  • smb566

    They just recently updated this trail. I have heard it was a blue with some spots needing to be red. Very disappointed. Not worth the ride/effort. Stick with Santos...* Review edited 5/11/2011

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  • kevprides

    Rode this trail for the first time and it started out very good but went bad about halfway in. There was nothing really hard about this trail other than the sugar sand until we hit the clearing being done the US Forest Dept. They had trees pushed down all over the trail, trail markers removed & ground completely torn up. It was so bad that it made it impassable unless you had GPS mapping of the trail and then would still have to walk through some of it. I would like to go back sometime if they ever get done clearing or just stop tearing the trails up so badly. Probably best to go after a good rain has packed the sand. Plenty of wildlife to see here, which we seen a black bear running across the trail.* Review edited 7/26/2010

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  • futska

    This trail is great for what it is. 22 miles of good scenery and a good workout. The trail is well marked and sandy; it is not technical. It mainly runs through Pine forest, occasionally dipping into small Oak hammocks.

    I think starting at Alexander Springs and heading south is better than starting in Paisley so you can enjoy the springs after the ride. You can't bring your bike down to the spring, but there is a small bike rack. There's a fee to park at Alexander Springs itself, but there is a free trail parking area about a mile south (see the trail map pdf provided by the US Forest Service).

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  • darrinw2001

    lots of trees, lots of miles, not alot of elevation. look out you dont get lost in some areas. make sure you go to the Forestry Station in Altoona for a trail map to take with you since their is none at the trail head except the one on the wall.

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