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First report: Nov. 2012; latest update: March 2016

Legacy Trail

Venice Legacy TrailVenice Legacy Trail

The Legacy Trail (11 miles) is well maintained and mostly straight, with varied scenery going through forest and parks, past housing subdivisions, and over scenic waterways. The trail has a surprisingly rural feel, even when running past homes or businesses the wide corridor creates a buffer zone (except in a few short sections). "Stations" with covered benches are located every mile or so, restrooms and water are at most trailheads; the parks have facilities, playgrounds and picnic, and several port-a-potties are located along the way. There are only four road crossings, and the bridge over US 41 eliminates the biggest hazard. Old railroad crossings and signs are quaint reminders of the trail's past, the concrete mile markers show the distance to Richmond, VA, on the original rail line. (Newer location markers are in yellow circles on the pavement.)

BOBCAT'S PHOTO GALLERY along the Legacy Trail
(tap or hover over photo for larger view)

Northern Terminus to Oscar Scherer State Park
The northern end is at Palmer Ranch, but an initiative is underway to extend the trail to Sarasota. Very rural feel, even though portions go past subdivisions and in one place a noisy auto reclamation facility - the wide buffer masks the surroundings. There also are open fields and we saw cattle. Once the trail enters the park, very serene.
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Northern end of trail Culverhouse Park Trailhead Crossing at Palmer Ranch Road
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Along the trail McIntosh trailhead One of the "stations" along the trail Along the trail
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Field along the trail One of many bridges
to cross
Crossing at Central
Sarasota Pkwy. This is the busiest crossing in this section.
Osprey Junction Trailhead Station near Oscar Scherer State Park
Oscar Scherer State Park
The 1,400 acre park has parking, restrooms, camping, picnicking, hiking, fishing, playground and kayaking/canoeing on South Creek or Lake Osprey. There are about 15 miles of marked hiking and biking trails, mostly sandy and better for mountain bikes. The park is an important habitat for the endangered Florida Scrub Jay. Venice Legacy Trail, Oscar Scherer State Park, Florida bikingVenice Legacy Trail, Oscar Scherer State Park, Florida biking
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Entrance to Oscar Scherer State Park
off the Legacy Trail (pay station)
Picnic area Sandy trails Osprey Trail around Lake Osprey
(a sign says "No Bicycles"
so we complied and walked)
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South Creek Nature Center Crossing South Creek near Oscar Scherer State Park is a trail bridge and an old trestle bridge - the last remaining of the original 1911 trestles.
Oscar Scherer to Venice Train Depot
Perhaps the most varied section - from forest, field and marsh, to scenic waterways, to proximity to homes and businesses. Two road crossings through this section, the bridge over US 41 is a huge benefit. Legacy Park (opened in Jan. 2016) behind the train station adds much-needed parking plus restrooms, picnic facilities, water and a kayak/canoe launch. From here, the trail connects to Venetian Waterway Park.
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Route 681 bridge 898 miles to
Richmond, Virginia
Approaching Laurel Road crossing Laurel Park Along the trail
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Crossing Dona Bay At Nokomis, one of few spots where businesses are near the trail Bridge link to Nokomis Riverside Park Trailhead Nokomis Park Crossing Roberts Bay
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On the trail Bicycle bridge over US Hwy 41 Bypass Bridge over small
tidal creek
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Trail at the
train depot
Turn-off to Legacy Park behind the train station Picnic pavilions and restrooms at Legacy Park Parking at Legacy Park Entrance to Legacy Park at Seaboard Avenue
Historic Venice Train Depot
The Venice Seaboard Air Line Railway Station was built in 1927 with service ending in 1971. Restored in 2003, today it serves as a bus station and trailhead for the Legacy Trail and Venetian Waterway Park. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, tours are available.
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Venice Seaboard Air Line Railway Station At Rollins Coakley Railroad Park are a restored caboose and a statue of the circus's popular Guenther Gebel-Williams, the "Greatest Wild Animal Trainer of All Time"

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- Check out paddling at Oscar Scherer State Park

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