The first thing we noticed as we pulled into the parking lot was a very impressive skills area. This skills area has a full sweeping wooden wall, a pretty intense rock garden, some technical skinnies with rocks intertwined, and then some smaller warm up features. We rode this a bit before we hit the trails and then spent another 15 minutes on it at the end of the day.

It took us a minute to find a Downloadable map but once we had the layout we hit the trails.The trail system is well marked once you are on the trails but it’s a little confusing finding the trail from the Santos Trailhead . We started with “Dr. Ruth” an intermediate trail. Nice warm up trail, nothing hard, enough to keep you entertained for XC. We kept it easy riding a few more intermediate trails, “Bunny” and then “Twister”. Twister was the best Intermediate trail we rode. As the name implies the trail twists back and forth through the woods with some cool ups and downs across a ridge area.

After finishing Twister we hit the “Back Door” which is a cut through to the directional “IMBA Red”. The IMBA Red trail is currently the highest ranked individual trail in the State of Florida according to singletracks.com. We missed the first part of the trail by cutting in after Twister and the trail started a little iffy. My first impression was it was too choppy. This changed in my mind though pretty quickly. The trail is very technical and opens into some eye popping, draw dropping man-made features! The IMBA Red trail is built around an old quarry . At the end of the trail you get a few options to “drop into the quarry”. There are 3 drops where you can simply ride off the edge of one of the walls and free fall 15’-25’ to a landing ramp below. No I didn’t opt to run any of those. I’m thinking at 43 those days are behind me.

Santos Trailhead Florida Mountain Biking

Don’t worry if you don’t want to go off these drop there are some other adrenaline features left on the trail you would have missed had you dropped one of those anyways. A little bit down the trail you come to the “corkscrew”. I have never seen a feature like this before and it was fascinating. It is a large wooden ramp that corkscrews down to the quarry floor. At the bottom you can ride back up to the top and keep going or pull a U-turn and ride out onto the quarry floor, ride up and keep going! The next man-made feature is a huge wall ride. You start with a 15’+ dirt drop in scream around the wooden wall and then peddle back up a side trail to the top. This is an optional feature and you can skip the drop in and the wall, or you ride it in circles 3 times like I did! A little further down the trail you come to the “Roller Coaster”, a huge wooden ramp drop that climbs a bit before dropping 15’+ and then roller coasters out. A ton of work went into this and the corkscrew and they are fantastic. From here it’s down into the quarry and across the other side to some skinny bridges.

Once you’re done with the IMBA Red you can hit one of the two jump line courses in the “Free Ride Area”. The smaller one if for mortals and the bigger one is mind blowing! We saw lots of riders  and some were getting 15’+ of air beneath there tires! There is a separate parking area over here and this are is called the “Vortex Trailhead”. On our way back we rode “Blue Highway” to “John Brown”. John Brown, a black diamond, is a super technical, twisty, turning, rooty and rocky trail. If you’re looking for an ultra technical all natural root and dirt trail this is it, But don’t say you weren’t warned. Kelly was pretty upset after walking her bike on John Brown so it was time to go ride some of the other trails. We rode “Cow Bone” back to Blue Highway and then “Pine Tree” and “Marsh Mellow” back to the parking lot. There is cool small roller coaster on Pine Tree that Kelly loved, all the super technical bike walking forgotten.

This trail system has something for everyone. There is a skills area, a pump track, numerous trails from beginner to advanced, and tons of  wooden features to make it an Epic free ride area. Florida has great trails!

Skills Area Santos Trailhead Florida

Camping:

Santos Campground
3080 SE 80th St
Ocala, Florida 34480
(352) 369-2693
*Campground is located right next to the Trailhead

$22 / Night
Power and Water Hook-ups
Dump station $5 for non-campers

Description

  • 24 Sites – Water and Electric
  • 20, 30 and 50 amp Service
  • Dump Station
  • Picnic Pavilion
  • Bathhouse/Restrooms
  • Potable Water
  • Picnic Tables and Fire Rings
  • On-site Campground Host
  • Hiking, Biking and Equestrian Trails
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