Top 10... Jacksonville-Baldwin
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End Points: Jacksonville, Imeson Rd. trailhead to Brady Branch Rd., just west of Baldwin, FL
Mileage: 14.5 miles
Surface: Paved asphalt, 12 ft.
Location: Duval County
Trailheads at Imeson Road, Camp Milton, Halsema Road, Baldwin (Center St.), and Brandy Branch Rd. (See detailed map, left)
Nearby points of interest: Camp Milton Historic Preserve Civil War site (about 6 miles west of the Imeson trailhead).
On weekends especially, this is a popular trail with everyone from families with children, to casual recreational bikers, to long-distance bikers on recumbents and road bikes - this is one of the few trails we've seen with speed limits (20 mph) posted. Yet in spite of (or because of?) all the activity, everyone was very courteous in signaling when passing, etc.
Benches and trash cans are provided at regular intervals. On our first trip in 2011, we noted just one full restroom facility serving the trail; on our 2017 visit we found there are now three. Bring your own food and water - no restaurants (or latte shops)!
THE BEST TRAIL SECTIONS TO RIDE... and additional comments by MUDFISH
I recommend parking off Halsema Road which is near the mid-point of the trail. Here you have two options; either at the Halsema Trailhead (unpaved, equestrian trailhead) or across the road at Camp Milton Historic Preserve (paved, short connecter to trail). This puts you in one of the most forested sections. From this point, about 2 miles east (to Hannah Road) and about 6 miles west (towards Baldwin), it is mostly tree-lined with only one real road crossing (Otis Road) - offering the type of serene riding we love.
From what we observed, there are no congested road crossings anywhere along the trail. Most of the "Vehicle Crossings" signs you will see are for gated forestry-service roads that haven't been used in years.
BOBCAT'S PHOTO GALLERY along the Jacksonville-Baldwin Trail
(tap or hover over photo for a larger view)
|Imeson Trailhead to Hannah Road
From the eastern Imeson trailhead, the first 3.5 miles are mostly open, with wide grassy shoulders and a good field of view, including woods, fields, and residential areas. Since the trail here follows a power line, there is little shade - unlike much of the rest of the trail. Proximity to Jacksonville, ample parking and restrooms make this a busy section, with many family groups in addition to long-distance and recreational bikers. Commonwealth Avenue is the busiest crossing.
|Imeson Trailhead, parking, restrooms||Trail along power line, leaving trailhead||Road crossing at Commonwealth Ave.||Through a
|End of power lines|
|Hannah Road to Camp Milton/Halsema Trailhead
The trail leaves the power lines and enters a more narrow, tree-lined corridor. It's about 2 miles to the Camp Milton Historic Preserve (more information below) and the Halsema Road Trailhead. Full facilities are located at the Camp Milton trailhead. The Halsema Trailhead serves as the main equestrian trailhead, with horse trailer parking and a horse wash rack.
|Into the canopy||A crossroad to nowhere||Cows in a field||Bridge under
|Along the trail|
|Camp Milton access, restrooms||Approaching
|Entry from trail to Halsema Trailhead||Halsema Trailhead - parking, picnic|
|Halsema Trailhead to Baldwin
The narrow, tree-lined corridor continues virtually uninterrupted for about 6 miles. At mile marker 12, it enters an open residential area and goes under US301, before arriving at the Baldwin Trailhead. The old Baldwin train depot serves as a Visitor Center with restrooms and parking, though the office was closed when we visited. A community park here has picnic facilities, a fitness path, playground, and a caboose exhibit.
|Leaving Halsema Trailhead||Along the trail||Crossing at Otis Road, the only real road along this section||Equestrian trail||One of very few curves|
|Mile marker 12 - entering residential area||Under US 301||Approaching the trailhead||Baldwin Trailhead, the old train depot|
|Baldwin to Brandy Branch
The last 2 miles to Brandy Branch Road is a little more open but still mostly shady. The Brandy Branch trailhead has parking and a port-a-potty.
|Leaving Baldwin trailhead||Along the trail||Bench and forest
|End of trail at Brandy Branch Rd.|
|Camp Milton Historic Preserve
The bike trail forms the northern boundary of Camp Milton Historic Preserve. There is plenty of free parking, with a short paved path (parallel to Halsema Road) leading to the bike trail. Civil War buffs will want to explore the preserve. Bicycles are allowed.
|Camp Milton Historic Preserve, access point off trail||Civil War bridge
|Old homestead||Confederate earthworks||Parking area off Halsema Rd.|
More Information on the Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail (links open in a new window):
Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail - a Top Florida Bike Trail for Recreation and Fitness.
Our Top 10 FL Biking
- Jacksonville-Baldwin Trail
- Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail
- Cedar Key, FL
Small Town Ride
- Withlacoochee State Trail
- West Orange Trail
- Van Fleet State Trail
- Pinellas Trail
- Legacy Trail & Venetian Waterway Park
- Sanibel Island Bike Trails
- Shark Valley-Everglades Trail