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The Palatka-to-St. Augustine State Trail currently runs through the communities of Armstrong, Elkton, and Vermont Heights in northeastern Florida. Much of the route follows State Route 207, hence its former name as the State Road 207 Rail-Trail. Another 10-mile section runs east of the St. Johns River to the Putnam County/St. Johns County line. Eventually, it will connect to the 8 mile section in St. Johns county that is called the Palatka to St. Augustine State Trail (from Merryfield Lane to Putnam County Boulevard in East Palatka). Views are a mix of woodlands and rural landscapes. (Note: As of late 2018, the gap between Spud and Hastings is complete).
Long-range plans include a connection to the Palatka-to-Lake Butler State Trail as part of a developing 260-mile, five-county regional network known as the St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop. The network is part of the East Coast Greenway.
A trailhead and parking are available off State Road 207 near Interstate 95 in Vermont Heights at the north end of the trail.
There is a small parking area that was just completed by the county at the end of Louis Broer Road in East Palatka. This is about 1 mile east of the beginning of this section of trail, and about 2 miles east of the St. Johns River. The western end of this section of trail starts at SR17 on the west side of Palatka across from the Italian Latin Grill. There is some parking there as well. This total section of paved trail is about 9.5 miles.
This trail is great when it comes to biking in Florida. Beautiful scenery, lots of forest riding and farms. Few miles of highway riding. Can make this ride 50+ miles easily.
Great mix of woods & open areas. Trail is smooth & well maintained. Several bikers on the trail today. Surprised to discover Florida’s Potato Capital of Hastings.
We finally got to ride the western part of the Palatka to St. Augustine Trail today that runs from Hastings to Palatka. I reviewed the eastern part, St. Augustine to Hastings a few weeks ago.
There is plenty of parking in Hastings on Main St. but we parked in the Post Office lot a block off Main for safety reasons. The trail goes right through town and you pick it up on Main St. The first part is through local neighborhoods where unfortunately some locals find it fun to break beer bottles on the trail so use caution. Once out of town you border farm fields with an open trail which would be very hot in warmer months. A few miles down the trail though you get into some shade but not much. It appears the trail is not much used as we saw only 4-5 other cyclists but it was a week day. As you get closer to Palatka it narrows and then becomes essentially a sidewalk and once in town crosses many parking lots so safety could be an issue. The trail near Palatka also becomes very trashy and industrial.
All in all though this is a great ride. If you wanted to go from St. Augustine (actually Vermont Heights about 3 miles out of St. A.) to Palatka it would be a very good ride mileage wise. There is beautiful farmland, creeks with very nice bridges across, and lots of wildlife, mainly large birds. In Hastings there is a fantastic restaurant named Norma D's Kitchen, "The Local Spot" that has great food. Right on Main Street about 100 yards from the trail, it is open only for breakfast and lunch and is well worth either starting there after a big breakfast or ending there for lunch. We had breakfast and were very happy with the food and service, and price! Our next ride we plan to start there and back for lunch.
We road the trail today from St. Augustine, actually Vermont Heights where there is parking and bathrooms, to Hastings. The section between Spuds and Hastings is now complete so you can ride all the way to Palatka. The new section is fantastic with some great bridges and farm fields. Most of the trail has plenty of shade also. There is still some finish work to be done but it is completely surfaced and ready to ride. It was great seeing so many people out today from serious riders to families on cruiser bikes. If you do the ride plan on being in Hastings early morning and hit up Norma's Kitchen for breakfast. We were not able to get there at that time but will plan around that next time.
Ride this trail today on our tandem. I had been told about the unfinished gap between Spuds and Hastings. The gap is now completed and you can ride the trail the entire distance.
Started from the Vermont Heights ¿ trailhead, ¿
new restrooms here, not finished yet.
Rode north 2.4 miles to the end near I-95.
Rode south about 6.2 miles to the new trailhead at Armstrong Park. Restrooms, parking and picnic tables available.
West about a mile to the end in Spuds at CR-207. Can see trail work in progress West of CR-207.
Crossing CR-207 both times easy with Flashing lights and cooperating drivers.
Returned to Vermont Heights for a 17.4 mile ride.
I ride this Trail a lot since I live in St Augustine. The only bad thing to say about it is some dog owners let their pets run free (western end) so I've had run ins with a pit bull that roam the wooded areas. So beware, other than that its a nice path. Hope they finish the Hastings section soon
Construction has begun on the Hastings gap in the trail. The new construction will close the gap between the county line (east of Hasting) and the current end of the trail on the east side of Hasting. When the construction is complete in the fall of 2018 (hopefully) you will be able to ride from Palatka to the outskirts of St. Augustine (near I-95) on the trail. Plus the new Trail Head just west of Hastings will open up at that time also. Bathrooms and parking!! It's already built waiting on the trail to be finished!!
My wife and I tried this trail for the first time on Sunday April 02 2017. We arrived around 9:00 am and parked off of 207 where the trail and road converge. (see other review for more details.) The parking was easy to spot and there was plenty of space. There is a typical poster billboard with some information about the trail here also.
The most difficult crossing was 207. But if you aren't in a hurry and trying to maintain a pace for training or performance it isn't a big deal. If you have young kids then maybe it would be a little more nerve racking.
We gave the trail a grade of A. It was peaceful, flat, in good condition, and in the shade for much of the ride. We gave the amenities a C+. We didn't see any restrooms. And didn't pass and grocery stores or restaurants. Although we didn't leave the path at all. The could possible be some places just off the path.
We didn't see any dogs, or snakes, or chickens, or really much wildlife. The people we saw along the trail were friendly and always said good morning.
One of our dogs were found on the bike trail 2/3/17 chocolate lab/tree Walker. We are still looking for our male pointer he is white with dark spots and dark head. He has a camo collar and tag but I'm hoping even if anyone has seen him they can direct me where to look. His name is Thor. My number is 386-503-4894 please call me; don't comment here because I'll never see it. He is so missed. Please help me find him.
We parked on a small dead-end section of Old State Road 207, which is right off current SR 207 about 3 miles SW of I 95. Good place to park if you're going to ride back toward St. Augustine (which doesn't go all the way through BTW), but if you're riding SW toward Hastings the first 2 miles run alongside busy 207. Not a very pleasant ride. Much better to park along County Road 305 where the trail crosses it (on the south side). Wide shoulder to park on and no signs posted to the contrary. This not only eliminates that 2-mile stretch but gets you on the right side of 207, avoiding a crossing that even with warning lights is a bit edgy what with 4 lanes of high speed traffic. The trail from here is wide and smooth through woods and rural areas. A pleasant, if not exactly spectacular, ride.
Rode the trail from Vermont Heights to Hastings on Thursday October 27th. All hurricane debris has been removed and the surface is in great shape.
From the trailhead parking lot toward St A, the trail is still open. About 2.8 miles from the trailhead towed Hastings there are many trees down and the trail is impassible until it is cleared.
The trail is starting to get filled with branches and leaves on certain parts. some small plants need to be cut back along the fence that parallels the beginning of the trail right before you cross Hwy 207 at the safety lights. Lots of pine needles and twigs on the path now also.
I really do like this trail but biking by yourself, well I just don't feel real safe on some segments of the trail (closed in segments). Also, on the west end of trail there are some homes which the homeowners leave their dogs to run free or maybe the dogs get out but either way, unsafe (Rottie and other dog)
If you are riding with another then great ride. Just watch the dogs and be aware of your surroundings.
Rode to the Vermont Blvd entry from my house on Anastasia (10 miles each way) so was a fine 27 mile ride. Path was great condition but meh Florida scenery.
The trail is flat and well maintained and a most of it was nice and shady. We walked round trip for a total of 17 miles. There were lots of bikes but we only saw two other walkers. The trail is well marked as to where the bikes ride and were the walkers walk. We didn't have any problem with bike traffic like on some trails. There are a few benches along the way but no picnic tables. No bathrooms and NO WATER source. On a bike that might not be a big issue but when you're walking it's hard to carry enough water due to the weight. Be aware the parking area on State Road 207 is not marked so it might be difficult to locate parking for the trail. Look for cars with bike racks parked well off the main road!
Be sure to take time to stop and read the info signs as you pass through Armstrong on the trail. Very interesting area and history.
This was my first RT ride!!! And it was my longest ride so far as I am new to biking ( and exercise in general:)). Nice flat path and the cross over 206 is very well marked and easy---just push the buttons for the flashing lights and watch. Met a nice woman putting up signs for a RT party at Railroad and Armstring. I u-turned and ended up doing abit 12 miles total which for me was great!!!!
Great trail. A good workout and very convenient
My Brother-in-Law and I did this trail twice. The first time was unsuccessful due to a self inflicted pedal problem (it kept falling off) and my Brother-in-Law had to go back to the get the truck and rescue me. The second time on Sept 30, we rode the whole trail. It was very nice with a variety of scenery and a few turkeys.
Every review I read prior to our rides mentioned the parking as a problem. The first trip we parked at the cement plant. We asked a man running the loading part of the cement plant about parking and he said we could park inside the gate, but please be out by closing time, because the week before someone had left their car and he had to leave the gate open so they could get out. He suggested parking by the telephone poles out side the gate. Then you still have to walk your bike over some nasty stones along the edge of some rail road tracks to get to the trail.
There is room to park 3 cars off Vermont. But we found on the second trip there is a pull off road about 2 miles west of IS95 on Rt 207 that has plenty of room to park. The trail skirts the road there, so access is easy. I would recommend this place to park, and so did the guy at the cement plant.
Went on this trail last weekend. Very nice, level and smooth. Very few people nice Bird sounds loved the area will definitely go back.
Enjoyed a quiet 17 mile ride (round trip on this trail segment); we parked off the trail where it crosses Vermont Street (parked right off the road adjacent to the trail), just a mile or two off Interstate 95 and Highway 207 (we were staying one exit north off of Interstate 95 and State Road 16, about 7 to 8 miles from the trail head); the trail goes approximately 1.45 miles to the East/North back towards Saint Augustine before it ends into the railroad tracks(looks like this would be a great investment to continue the trail over the railway bed into Saint Augustine to link with the A1A for a longer ride up to Ponte Vedra and Jacksonville Beach); the trail runs about 7 miles from the intersection with Vermont towards Palatka along Highway 207, where it crosses 207 (very well marked and safe crossing with flashing lights); the trail also crosses 3 or 4 other small roads, all of which seemed to have very little traffic and all crossings were very safe; the trail was nicely paved and smooth and well shaded the majority of the trip; the trail dead ends at the South and West end at Highway 207, not clear how it would be extended at this point, but I believe there are plans to connect it to another portion of the Heritage Trail at this end; highly recommend this ride, it was a nice change of scenery from the Ocean ride with the cars along A1A from Vilano Beach to Ponte Vedra
Seemed to be some issues with others finding parking so I drove around a bit first and did some recon. You can turn R on Vermont off 207 and follow that (bout a mile) and you can see where the trail crosses the street. It says no parking, but I think that means no parking in front of the gate, but in the little lot is ok. This is about a mile from the north end start of the trail head. I also drove a bit down 207 and found a large area to the right of where it goes from 45mph to 55mph (sign). It's the old part of 207 and you can park there and ride from there. It's about 1.5-2 miles south of the north end trail start.
Overall it was a very nice ride, mostly flat, veru little elevation change, lot's of shaded areas, only one crossing of 207 and a couple of back road crossings. I had some sort of glich with my phone so I don't have any actual distance or elevation numbers.
Parking was hard to navigate! We exited 207 and turned right in Deerpark Rd. Followed all the way to deadend then turned left and parked just outside of cement plant. Hit up trailhead at very beginning where railroad ends! BEAUTIFUL ride when not on highway- although it was only for a short bit. Nice ride overall
I am new to serious biking. Bought a Fuji hybrid last summer and mostly ride on highways [U.S. 1 and SR A1A near me here in St. Augustine. I was happy to find,after a little research, that that this State Trail is somewhat near me. It was a 40 minute ride over to SR 207 and maybe 2 miles south of I-95 when I found an access near the North Trailhead. There is a spur off SR207 that appears to be available for limited parking. When I was finished riding this part of the trail,approx. 2 miles, a rider was parking and unloading a recumbent.
I enjoyed my first ever RTC ride! The section I just described ends near a working cement plant and railroad tracks. I backtracked and rode the entire trail and passed potato farms and rural communities [Armstrong, Spuds] and crossed a couple of local roads. [The SR 207crossing has warning lights for bikers]. There is a steep ditch on the east side of the path and it was full of water after recent rains. The trail was very shady and I noticed a few benches and a fairly new bridge along the way. The Southern Trailhead ends unspectacularly about 2 miles from the Town of Hastings on the highway. I rode into Hastings and had lunch,hung out in their library and caught a bus back home.
I am thrilled to have a trail under my belt and look forward to doing many more. I have the Jacksonville-Baldwin Trail on my to do list. Thanks for letting me share.
I have been following the progress (or lack of) of this trail for over 8 years now. Initially started as a 3 mile trail with the promise of extending into Palatka/Hawthorne/Gainesville system. I think its barely up to 6 miles. And...they have had to close half of it due to trail cave ins and maintenance after just a year of opening. Has plenty of potential but slow going and has a major 4 lane hwy crossing right in the middle.
Tried parking at the southern start of the trail but felt a bit isolated and neighbor dogs were unchained in their yard, so headed to the Vermont Blvd crossing. Parked on the side of the road but was unsure because "no parking" signs on gates on either side of the road. After riding the trail, would now park off 207 where there's an arc of old road that runs parallel to 207. It's no longer a road to anywhere and there weren't any "no parking" signs that I could see.
Enjoyed the trail on this misty, grey morning. However, the trail is still closed to the south, right as it veers off 207. It looks like it's done and we did keep going past the signs to check it out until we finally came to a bridge with the signs closing it off.
I'll definitely come back when the trail is re-opened and hopefully it will be a prettier day. The trail is smooth and straight, very easy to ride.
The section of trail from C.R. 305 to Armstrong Rd. will be closed September 12 to December 26, 2014 for reconstruction.
There really is no place to park. There is an area on Vermont blvd. where you can park on the side of the road but there are no parking signs. Basically you have to park illegally. The path itself is beautiful. I wish that it could be made longer. About 10 miles.
Trail in great condition as of 3.20.14. Not far from I-95. Good spot to stretch your legs after driving all morning.
Started out on Vermont Heights rd, rode north to where it stops then turned around and rode to the end, at 207 , then rode back Vermont Heights, very nice ride, lots of shade on the lower half, beautiful day. Take head there is no trail head, no mile markers only 2 benches along the ride, no restrooms, but it is worth the ride!
Please someone tell me what did I do wrong? Drove all the way from Jax, found the starting point off 207 but there is no parking at all. Just a few private homes and the forest. tried to find some business nearby and park there but there is nothing around.....
I've ridden this trail numerous times. It is great as far as it goes. When it is finished and links-up with the Palatka-Lake Butler leg-it will be fantastic. Too bad I won't live to see it. But you youngsters will and you'll love it.
We rode a total of about 11.3 miles on the trail today. It was really nice. Parts are open and sunny, but there are plenty of shaded areas as well. We even saw a Gopher Tortoise on the side of the trail! We can't wait to go back an ride more of the trail. Finding the trail head is a bit of a challenge though, don't go by the 4199 Deerpark Boulevard address. The trail actually ends next to one of the industrial sites and there is no access to it at that point. We went 3-4 roads down 207 to Vermont Heights Rd and found limited parking available where the trail crosses that road. From there, it is about 1.5 mi. to the north end of the trail. There is also an old stretch of 207 that is off the main road that you can park along and access the trail. Hope this helps!
This trail is pristine and a very nice ride.
The southern end starts out going through quaint rural neighborhoods and runs through unspoiled forrest with shade.
It picks up a deep creek on the right and crosses over a new bridge heading through farmlands back out to run next to the SR 207.
There is a crossing light to go over SR 207. This part of the trail is in the sun.
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