Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Biking Florida's Wilderness Park Trails

Wilderness Park is a 4000 acre preserve composed of seven entities administered by the Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department, and offers 60 mlles of forest trails for hikers, bikers, and equestrians.

I've biked the Wilderness Park trails just northeast of Tampa, Florida, three times now and highly recommend them.  Here's a map of the trails (click to enlarge photos)...

The paved loop trail runs 7 miles,  If you also bike the half mile from the Flatwoods parking area to the loop as well as the 2 mile access from the Bruce Downs parking area, you get a nice 12 mile ride.  They even have re-watering stations inn several places providing cold water from coolers, very appreciated on warm days.

In addition to biking 15 miles on the paved trail, I ventured off onto several mountain bike trails for another 9 miles.  Last time here I biked the 12 mile mountain bike loop, and my report and photos on that adventure has a link below, as well  a link to photos from a prior ride on the paved segment. Here are photos from today's  off-road ride .First a view of one of the open areas...

...and another of a forested section. The trails are in good shape. Very little accumulation of "sugar sand" (a white sand often found in Florida) impairs your ride on the trail, unlike other places I've biked in Florida.  Be aware, though, that roots are abundant, and there are many tight turns and some places where the trail passes through narrow openings between trees, all of which make for a stimulating ride!  Just keep your concentration level on high mode and take your time.

Here's a bonus I observed.  As I rounded a curve, I heard a flurry of activity on the trail ahead and spotted three young raccoons scampering across the trail and up into a tree.  Here's a photo I got of 2 of them as they paused in their upward climb to curiously watch me take their photo...

Official Florida website (including map)

Biking the mountain bike trails

Biking the paved trail loop

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