The Nayls Trail loop, part of the Cross Florida Greenway trail system (or the Santos trail system as most locals call it), is mostly a flowing combination of S-curves, quick climbs & descents, and a small bit of tight technical trail.
Thanks to OMBA (Ocala Mountain Bike Association) a sandy ascent/decent that had been suffering from erosion has been replaced with a new ramp.
Access to the Nayls trail is easiest from the 49th Street Trailhead. There is no camping or potable water at the trailhead, but there is a pavilion with picnic tables and port-a-potties.
The trail system is shared with Hikers and Horse Back riders, but they keep off the mountain bike trails for the most part.
All the trails see traffic in both directions so be prepared to see other riders coming at you and make your presence known if you see oncoming riders first.
From the parking lot, there are 3 paths that will get you to the limerock road (a limerock path, and two short warm up trails). Take a left on the limerock and go under the overpass (very gravely/sandy conditions on both sides), then make a right at the information board on the other side.
The trail sees traffic in both directions, and has a slightly different character depending on which path you decide to start with.
Traveling the southern trail first (the direction this ride was done) starts with an easier trail for about a mile that sees very few obstacles and very low incline climbs. You'll be riding mostly on well packed sand or dirt until you come across the limerock road again.
Cross the limerock road and continue onto the fast flowing S-curves and the start of multiple quick descents followed immediately by steep climbs. The trail is mostly well packed but you'll have to fight for grip with fallen leaves. Go on for another mile until you reach the wooden ramp.
After another mile of little descents and climbs you'll finish an extended climb to a nice opening off to the right. Shortly after reaching the opening you'll come back down to meet up with the limerock road again. Cross it for the last fast section that comes back around to the limerock road again where you'll enter an open sandy section that will take you to 484. This section is considered Nayls South
Before you reach 484, there's trail marker that will put you onto Nayls North
From here you follow the sandy trail to the limerock road and enter the woods again. Nayls North
is just like Nayls South
, only harder. The climbs and descents are steeper, the sustained climbs are longer and the sandy bits always seem to be in the wrong place.
You'll doubleback across the limerock road 2 more times (with an additional outlet in the early going) before reaching the final section of the trail. The terrain changes from well packed leaf covered dirt to clean packed sand, but with a lot of palmetto roots almost set up like whoops. Fight to keep momentum up through here and you start the tight bit of the trail with trees flanking you through tight corners and short ascents. You'll hear and see cars on 49th street as you make your way back to the trail entrance.