With more than 20 trails full of stunning views, Florianópolis is an excellent option for mountain biking, a sport that attracts both extreme adventurers and weekend sportsmen.

Sweat sticks the shirt to the body, runs down the face and arms that shake with the bumps. The leg muscles seem to explode as they go up and down, up and down, up and down in a strong rhythm, accompanied by heavy breathing. Stuck in the irregular trail that winds up the hill, the eyes squint with light and dust. They look for boulders, cracks or any accident in the terrain that could make the ascent even more difficult, and from time to time they run through the panorama that begins to unfold through the trees.

Finally, the top. The cool breeze that comes from the sea, the shadow of the guarapuvu, the view. Few sports provide this delicious change of sensations and scenery as quickly as mountain biking or mountain biking. Those who try it, don't give up anymore. In the space of an hour, you can go from strenuous, purifying physical exercise to the placid contemplation of pictures of nature not accessible without much effort. Energetic adrenaline from the descents, speed, and a certain amount of danger.


The Island of Santa Catarina - a little piece of paradise with 451 km2, 42 beaches e two ponds framed by the green of the Atlantic Forest - it has a privileged geography. It not only caresses the eyes but also favors the practice of dozens of sports, especially extreme ones: surf and diving in the sea, hang gliding and paragliding in the sky, mountain biking on land.

Those who choose mountain biking never regret it. The rugged terrain of the island, the variety of trails available and the beauty of the scenery make the pedal-powered adventure a rare spectacle. And what is more important: accessible to all who are willing and curious. Just have a reasonable physical preparation, a good bike and, of course, like nature and strong emotions.

The Forest Trail

A Lagoon coast, a small fishing community linked to the rest of Florianópolis only by a line of boat-buses and by trails that cross the Atlantic Forest, is the end - or the beginning - of the Florestinha Trail. It is only 4,5 km long and is neither the biggest nor the most difficult on the island. It is simply the most beautiful. At one of its resting points – the hang gliding ramp – the view of the Conceição Lagoon, one of the best known and most appreciated in Florianópolis. This makes it the ideal route for tourists and for those who don't have much time to dedicate to sport. But make no mistake! It's a mountain trail, and those who take it will have to break a sweat before feeding their spirits with the spectacular views, the smell of pure nature, the sounds of the forest.

scorching start

The Saturday we chose for the adventure couldn't be hotter. It's 4 o'clock in the afternoon and the thermometer is above 30 degrees when we park on the highest part of the road that connects the Centro from Florianópolis to the beaches of the east coast, such as mole and joaquina. It's time to get the bikes out of the trunk of the car. Assembly is done with care. Before starting the adventure, the tests. Brake? OK. Exchange? OK. Screws tightened, oil in the chain, water in the canteen, helmet on the head, accessories... and off we go.

No one in the group is a freshman in this ecological mode of cycling. There's even a champion - Eduardo de Souza - who twice won the category title from Santa Catarina. He has the most upgraded bike, imported from the United States and not cheap.


pedaling is accurate

We left the asphalt behind and started the journey. The first part is also the most difficult. So here's a piece of advice: don't give up as soon as you come across the long, straight gravel slope at the very back of the hotel. Occasionally, the starter slips. It feels like we're sitting on a stationary, pedaling without moving. The difference is the fresh air, the wonderful scenery and the impossibility of stopping pedaling without falling. But as no one in the group has radical ambitions, nor wants to fly against the clock, we step on the pedal of the dream as we cross hills, streams and puddles, enjoying every detail we find along the way. The landscape begins to change as soon as we start the ascent. Looking over your shoulder, you can see, in the distance, the urban landscape of Avenida Beira-mar Norte on one side, and the peaceful colonial houses overlooking the lagoon on the other.

pleasure and sweat

The gearshift structure of these bikes, with up to 24 gears, allows a person with good physical condition to climb steep slopes. Slowly, fighting the heat and the uneven gravel, we follow the more experienced ones up the slope that seems to reach the sky. Shame and pride keep us from giving up, stopping and carrying the bike on our back. We continued, sweating and panting, towards the top of the hill.

After cycling 20 minutes uphill, we reached a plain in the middle of the ramp. On the left, attention is drawn to a sequence of pine trees that contrast with the native vegetation of the region. In the background, the Azorean colonial architecture is present in a small white house, and the smoke from the chimney warns that there are people at home. We stopped to quench our thirst and exchange ideas.

Once they've been redone, we fill up our spirits and start riding again, as we still have a lot of climbing ahead. The green forest gets closer and closer, while the trail gets narrower. It's time to line up. And then comes the first fork. Which direction to take? Go straight or turn right? Doubt increases emotion. I give up my spot at the end to the veterans and go with the flow. There is nothing chivalrous about this attitude. It is the most sensible way out for those who do not know the way.


Natural Tunnels

The stream enters the trail on the right. Another vertical ramp grows in front of us. The road no longer has gravel, but holes and ditches made by the force of the rains, or by the wheels of off-road vehicles. We enter natural tunnels made by centenary trees with more than 20 meters. They gather their branches over our heads, hiding the sun.

If, on the one hand, these tunnels prevent us from enjoying the panoramic view, on the other hand, they relieve the temperature and allow nature to reveal itself in detail. Butterfly walks, fallen trees overcome by age, bromeliads comfortably hanging from the top of ipê trees. Colorful daisies grace the trail and a pure, tranquil stream cuts through our path.

A flash in the middle of the forest signals another fork and a new stop. Unknowns reappear in two directions. The narrowest alternative is the continuation of the Florestinha Trail, which goes to Costa da Lagoa. Suddenly, we understand why the path has this name: the stretch is closed, there is no sign of the sun inside. This part of the adventure requires utmost care. From there it is very important to keep your balance at low speed, overcoming rocks, ditches, tree trunks. For those who don't know, prudence recommends carrying the bike on your back. It's better than an accident.

The Free Flight Ramp

The other, less wild trail leads to the free flight ramp. The sunset promises, that's why we chose this path and soon we are presented with the most fantastic view of the trail. Over the ramp from which the 'men-birds' depart, it is possible to view, at an angle of more than 180 degrees, the entire east coast and the southern part of Santa Catarina Island. Lagoa da Conceição in front, surrounded by the beaches of Joaquina, Mole, Campeche, Morro das Pedras, Frame. A work of art from the hands and heart of some divine painter. A painting never to be forgotten.

But the day ends, and after a few minutes of peace and silence, in the contemplation of that spectacle of nature, it's time to get back on the pedals and accelerate your heart. The most anxious moment of the adventure will begin: the long descents. "They are irresistible temptations", comments Eduardo de Souza, who has seen his bike's cyclocomputer reach more than 80 km/h several times. It takes complete mastery of the equipment at this time, as a rock or a small hole can create a tragedy.

After all, after some scares and skidding, we returned to the starting point just as the cars turned on their headlights and the last rays of sunlight were reflected in the clear waters of the lagoon. Exhausted, covered in sweat and dust, but with the light soul of someone who has won his day.

An island crossed by trails

The Florestinha Trail is just one of the 30 that exist in Florianópolis. Twenty of them are viable. That is, they do not cut private properties, where authorization is required to pass. To this day, these trails are in the minds of a privileged few, such as Luiz Marcos Peixoto and Henrique Coutinho, considered the dinosaurs of mountain biking in Florianópolis.

Each trail has its story. Some are old trails, through mountains, made to reduce the distance between two communities, like the one from Ratones to Big bag. Others were used for the passage of animals and products from the colony, such as the Sertão do Peri. They have more recent trails that follow the path of the electric power towers. The one in Florestinha, for example, was opened to take adventurers to the paragliding ramp.


Tips on the Internet

The site trailsbr It has detailed information (navigation spreadsheet, GPS coordinates, maps, photos, etc.)

In Santa Catarina, other excellent cycling tours are the Circuito das Cachoeiras de Corupá, the mountains of São Pedro de Alcântara and the old railroad between Blumenau and Ibirama. If that's not enough, look for more suggestions at the Catarinense Cycling Federation, at Joinville.

Six tips for beginners

1. There are basic accessories that you cannot give up: a good helmet; tire repair kit including spatulas and air pump; bottle for water; suitable clothes: shorts, gloves and sneakers or sneakers.

2. A cycle computer is also welcome as it provides greater control over time and distance pedaled.

3. The ideal places to cycle are those where you have the most contact with nature and that are calm and without much traffic.

4. Always try to pedal together, especially on unknown routes. Not least because there are no reliable maps for unexplored territories.

5. It is increasingly difficult to find a nearby place to cycle. Look for other bikers and clubs and find out about the most suitable places. A good tip is to participate in organized tours.

8. Frequency is directly linked to how much you enjoy cycling and your priorities or commitments. Cycling only on weekends is sometimes the only option left. Try, however, even for a few minutes, to perform this activity two or three times a week.

Text: Paulo Scarduelli / Mares do Sul Magazine / Edition: Danielle de Medeiros

Campeche beach

Triskel Bike Experiences and Ecotourism

Bike tours in the south of the island and other regions. See our itineraries. With Triskel you will experience experiences with adventure and creativity! We offer cycle tourism or ecotourism experiences with several itineraries options and all the necessary infrastructure: CYCLODAY: One-day tours, duration from 4 to 6 hours in different regions of Florianópolis; CYCLE TOURISM: 2 to 4-day tours through the regions of Florianó