Friday, March 1, 2013

Biking Florida's Starkey Trail

Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park is in New Port Richie, Florida (near Tampa), and offers a 6.7 mile paved bike path.  The park also has 10 miles of equestrian trails, 27 miles of hiking trails along with both primitive camping and backcountry sites available for hikers and equestrians. Bikes are not allowed on hiking or horse trails.  Park in parking lots 8 or 10 for easy access to the bike trail.

There is a $2 daily entry fee.

The park is named after Jay B. Starkey, Sr., who purchased the land in 1937 for a cattle ranch and timber operation. He generously donated several hundred acres to the District in 1975, initiating the concept of permanently protecting the land and its resources for future generations. Over 8300 acres now form a connected wetland ecosystem.

 The bike trail traverses mostly slash pine and palmetto fields as seen here...

...though you'll see wooded tracts interspersed in the distance, and even some wetland/swamp areas as seen here...

 You will regularly reach shaded rest stops, with picnic tables and many with water coolers.

The trail ends at the 42 mile long Suncoast Trail which parallels the toll road of the same name.  I biked a portion if that, too, and spotted two gators at separate locations.  Here's one of them...

The trail is well marked at turns and the pavement is in very good shape.


From SR 54, go north on Little Road (CR 1) 2.2 miles, right on River Crossing Boulevard for 1.3 miles, left on Starkey Boulevard for 0.3 miles, then right on Wilderness Road into park. 

From SR 52, go south on Moon Lake Road (CR 587) 6.8 miles, left on DeCubellis Road 0.3 miles, left on Starkey Boulevard, then left on Wilderness Road into park.

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