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Reported: April 2018

Upper Tampa Bay Trail

Upper Tampa Bay Trail, in northwest Hillsborough County is accessible from the Tampa, Clearwater and St. Petersburg areas, and is one of the most popular multi-use trails for bikers, runners, walkers, and skaters in the Tampa Bay area. There are two sections, with unique characteristics: the lower trail includes suburban and urban features with access to restaurants and shops, while the upper trail runs through a nature preserve. $2 fee. (Detailed map and photos below.)

Upper Tampa Bay Trail

End Points: South section: Old Memorial (Montague Street) to Peterson Park; North section: Van Dyke Road to Suncoast Trail (Veterans Expressway)
Mileage: South section, 8 miles; north section, 4.5 miles
Surface: Asphalt
Location: Hillsborough County (Tampa, Odessa)
Trailheads: Old Memorial, Channel Park, Wilsky, Ehrlich Road, Peterson Road Park, Lutz Lake Fern Road (See map)
Nearby points of interest: Big Cat Rescue, Rocky Trails Creek Nature Preserve, Brooker Creek Preserve

BIKING AT UPPER TAMPA BAY TRAIL... Comments and Photos

The trail has a lot of variety. Though near residential and commercial areas in sections, it's mostly set back so that it retains a remote feel. Well maintained, underpasses and a bridge at busy roads are a bonus. The cold water dispensers along the trail are welcome, as there is not much shade.


Upper Tampa Bay Trail - Lower Section (south - 8 miles)

Old Memorial to Channel Park Trailhead

The trail starts with parking at Old Memorial Trailhead and runs without much shade along Channel A (an irrigation canal) to Channel Park Trailhead. There's a crosswalk at busy Waters Ave., or continue to the underpass and go under the road to Channel Park. At the trailhead are parking, restrooms, water and drink machines, plus an equestrian staging area.


Channel Park to Wilsky Trailhead

Past Channel Park, the trail runs through a partially shaded section, over a scenic wooden bridge at Rocky Creek, under the railroad trestle, and another underpass at Linebaugh Rd.. The trail comes to a tee, a leg leads to the Wilsky Trailhead, which has parking, restrooms and water.


Wilsky to Ehrlich Trailhead

From Wilsky Trailhead, the trail continues with some canopy but also paralleling Veterans Highway. Rocky Creek Trails Nature Preserve is a nice stop along the way. Past a bike shop, the busiest section is next - a bridge crosses Gunn Highway and Citrus Park Drive where there are a number of restaurants and a mall available. The trail follows Gunn Hwy. then veers off through canopy to Ehrlich Road with another bike shop and restaurants available. The Ehrlich Trailhead is behind the bike shop, with parking and water.


Ehrlich to Peterson Park

A block west of the trail at Gunn Hwy. is a crosswalk to cross Ehrlich Road. The trail continues through a rural area with mixed shaded and unshaded, arriving at Peterson Park Trailhead. Here are parking, restrooms, picnic and playground. The lower trail ends here, with plans to eventually link to the upper trail.


Upper Tampa Bay Trail - Upper Section (north - 4.5 miles)

Van Dyke Road to Lutz Lake Fern Trailhead

Eventually, the trail will link to the lower section here. Starting at Van Dyke Road north are Keystone Park, a library and a school. The trail then enters Brooker Creek Preserve. Continuing mostly unshaded, the trail runs north and then east to the Lutz Lake Fern Trailhead.


Lutz Lake Fern Trailhead

Lutz Lake Fern Trailhead has parking, restrooms, water, picnic and a fix-it station. It also serves as a trailhead for the Suncoast Trail, just a mile further.


Lutz Trailhead north to Suncoast Trail

Continuing unshaded through Brooker Creek Preserve are some boardwalks, plus a crosswalk across Lutz Lake Fern Road. The Upper Tampa Bay Trail links with the Suncoast Trail at Suncoast Highway for another 40+ miles of biking.

As the Suncoast Trail links with the Starkey Wilderness Trail and becomes part of the Florida Coast-to-Coast Trail, this will be an even more awesome ride when the upper and lower sections are linked.

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