Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness, and the surrounding area transport you away from Florida to the mountain west. It is home of my second favorite running/walking trail of the WDW resorts. The lodge is themed after Yellowstone National Park and is absolutely stunning. The area surrounding Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness fits into the theme with a forest of towering pines all around. The path winds through the “forest” from Wilderness Lodge through and around Fort Wilderness and back.
This is a wonderful place to run. It also makes a great walk for the whole family. The tall pines provide ample shade. Most of the path is paved, but pine needles soften your stride. You are surrounded by the fresh pine scent. Deer, squirrels, and the occasional rabbit can be encountered as well as the horses at Fort Wilderness. The Spanish moss, palmettos, flatness, and humidty let you know you are still in Florida, but with a little imagination, you can picture yourself out west. I haven’t been to Yellowstone, but it takes me to the Ponderosa Pine forests of two of my favorite places to run: Flagstaff, Arizona and the Black Forest, just north of Colorado Springs.
Maps of the exercise trail are available at the Guest Service desk. Starting from the dock behind Wilderness Lodge, running along the path to Fort Wilderness, and then circling though campground is 2.5 miles. Running straight back to Wilderness Lodge comes to about 3.7 miles. The out and back is a 5 mile jaunt. There is a small hill coming up from the docks at Wilderness Lodge. The trail is otherwise flat. If you want, you can wind further through the camp ground and make it an even longer run. The trail is mostly shaded and is rarely crowded. This enables you to enjoy the trail at any time during the day. You do have to cross roads a couple of times and part of the run is along roads in Fort Wilderness. So you will need to pay attention during these portions.
Pros: Pine trees. Shade. Critters, All day access. Rarely busy.
Cons: Road Crossing and potential traffic at Fort Wilderness.
Overall: This is a great running trail that blends in with the wonderful theming of the resorts. It makes a nice place to take a walk with your family, too.
I hope you give it a try.