UCF has one of the most beautiful campuses in the country. Part of that beauty comes from the plentiful trails surrounding the campus. While new buildings and apartments near UCF seem to sprout up every day, UCF still has their priorities when it comes to preserving many of these trail loops that are great for both cyclists, runners, and even Frisbee golfers!
Orlando apartments new and old dot the way in the UCF area. And where there isn't an apartment complex, a shopping center or a swamp there usually consists of loops in between these structures - usually hidden. McCulloch Road, Alafaya Trail, Tanner Road, and other areas have fantastic loops right off the road that makes for great shady runs. Most don't know about these loops but as a running nut, I will tell you the secrets to finding a great running loop in the area.
Holiday Inn Trail- Behind the Holiday Inn on University Blvd and High Tech Ave lies a popular loop a little less than a mile long that consists of woodchips. This is a great loop for a short run and even a fast tempo run. Bikes aren't allowed due to the private nature of the loop but it is open to the public. Bonus: Look out for rabbits!
UCF Frisbee golf loop- UCF has several loops on campus but one of the last ones that still stands is across the street from the football stadium where Gemini Blvd and Orion Blvd meet. This is a fantastic loop that can be anywhere from a mile and a half around to three miles (depending on the loop). Bonus: There is a Frisbee golf course so grab some friends and play sometime, it's incredibly fun!
UCF north loop- Starting from the Lake Claire rec area runs a trail about one to two miles around behind the baseball fields. This loop occasionally closes and used to be used much more when UCF was a wild campus and had about 30,000 less students. Bonus: Watch out for flying balls from the baseball field!
Econ Trail- If you're feeling a little more adventurous and want a break from the monotony of campus, there is a trail a mile from campus where McCulloch Road and Tanner Road meet. Starting at the trailhead, this loop (my personal favorite) runs anywhere from two miles to five around. I usually play it safe and take the two-mile loop multiple times as the loop floods after rain. This loop is open to cyclists and runners and you'll usually only pass a few people during your time here. Bonus: The southwest portion of this loop has an ancient-looking river full of cool sights.
Tanner Road loop- If you manage to make it to the end of the UCF Frisbee golf loop about a mile away from the trailhead, you'll find a canal. If the canal is low or you feel like living dangerously and crossing it, the trail continues behind the houses. There are assortments of short loops here that extend to Tanner Road. Tanner Road is a relatively secluded area and an enjoyable run as well.
Face it, weather in Central Florida is brutal during the summer. To get a run in without worrying about running at night, a trail run is a great alternative. Running anything longer than a few miles without shade during the summer is not something I'd recommend.
You should look into these trails individually. If you have a pet, take them for a walk around some of these loops (if allowed), take some friends and try a round of Frisbee golf, or lace up some shoes and get a great workout in the shade and see Florida nature at it's best.