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Latest update: Feb. 2018

Pinellas Trail

A Top 10 Florida Bike Trail

The popular Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail is an urban rail-trail with about 75,000 users each month, including bikers, walkers, joggers, and skateboarders. spans multiple Pinellas County cities, linking parks, coastal areas, and residential neighborhoods. While most sites show the trail as running from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs, it has been extended (now 53 miles) as part of an evolving trail loop. The Pinellas Trail also is the westernmost segment of the evolving 250-mile Florida Coast to Coast Trail. (Map and biking photos below.)

 

Pinellas Trail, paved Florida Bike Trail

Bike Map...
Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail


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Mileage: 53 miles, including Coast to Coast Trail link
Surface: Paved asphalt, 15'
Location: Pinellas County, St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs. (See map)
Nearby points of interest: Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, Honeymoon Island State Park, Clearwater Beaches, Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, FL.

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Friends of the Pinellas Trail

Biking on the Pinellas Trail... Comments and Photos

The trail between St.Petersburg and Tarpon Springs was more pleasant than we expected - while portions are alongside roadways, much of it runs along the rail corridor away from the road. The Pinellas Trail has become part of the culture in Pinellas County. We like that at secondary road crossings, trail riders have the right of way - a real bonus for the large number of long-distance bikers. Overpasses or underpasses cross major roads, and other road intersections are well Pinellas Trail emergency decalmarked with lights and signals that bikers can trigger. Along many sections, the trail is split into separate biking and pedestrian lanes. Emergency information is provided on decals at regular intervals along the way. To assist in trip planning, Pinellas County publishes an excellent trail guide with detailed map and information (link below).

Biking the Pinellas Trail, South Section... St. Petersburg to Clearwater

The trail passes through busy urban areas in St. Petersburg, Seminole, Largo, Belleair and Clearwater. There are trail bridges and underpasses to avoid traffic, but also a few road crossings.

Biking in St. Petersburg

The south end of the trail begins at 1st Ave. S. and Bay Shore Dr. S.E. in old St Petersburg. We parked at Demens Landing Park and enjoyed the view of Tampa Bay, and also biked along the waterfront which connects to a scenic section of the North Bay Trail. Crossing Bayshore Drive from Demens Landing is the start of the Pinellas Trail. Through old St. Pete, the trail is separated from the avenue by barriers. Passing restaurants, shops, and businesses and crossing busy streets, it's 1.3 miles west to Tropicana Field then through an old (uninviting) industrial area.


St. Petersburg to Seminole

The trail continues through an old industrial area, then becomes more commercial with several interesting bridges and an underpass. Notable features along the Gulfport section of the Trail include the bridge at the intersection of Park Street and Tyrone Blvd. (one of the busiest in Pinellas County), and the Cross Bayou Bridge which spans Boca Ciega Bay. After crossing the bridge, the trail arrives in Seminole and passes a KOA campground (no parking). A short distance north, Blossom Lake Park provides parking, restrooms, picnic facilities, playground, ball fields, fitness trail, and fishing lake.


Seminole to Downtown Clearwater

Seminole City Park is another convenient stop with parking, restrooms, picnic areas, playground, and an interesting local history museum run by volunteers as a labor of love. Continuing to Largo is mostly (but not exclusively) on the rail corridor away from the road. The next trailhead is located at Taylor Park with parking, restrooms, picnicking, playgrounds, playing fields, and a boat ramp onto Taylor Lake. Through Largo and Belleair, the trail continues both alongside and away from the road.


Old Downtown Clearwater

Entering Clearwater, a trail connector leads to Clearwater Beach. Through old downtown, the Pinellas Trail zigzags alongside city streets with several crossings. The section along East Avenue is about 3 blocks east of downtown. Leaving old downtown, the 3 miles toward Dunedin is a more pleasant ride, as the trail moves away from the road and crosses the channel at Old Clearwater Bay.

Biking the Pinellas Trail, Northern Section... Dunedin to Tarpon Springs

The trail passes through Dunedin, Palm Harbor, and Tarpon Springs. Trail end used to be at Tarpon Springs, but now the trail extends as part of the Coast to Coast Trail, and to East Lake Road and the start of the eastern leg of the Pinellas Trail Loop.

Dunedin

The Historic Train Station (1924, now the Dunedin History Museum) remains a focal point, with the trail running down the middle of the street. Dunedin is an example of how a trail can contribute to the economy of communities along its route, with restaurants, shops, and overnight accommodations opening up. We found Weaver Park to be a pleasant stop - restrooms, picnicking, fitness course, fishing pier (one of the longest of its type we've seen).


Dunedin to Tarpon Springs

The Pinellas Trail continues through Palm Harbor, alternating alongside the road and away. If you're driving and see what looks like a parking area between "No parking on trail" signs, note that it means "No parking between signs" as this is actually an access to the golf course - a ranger was handing out violation warnings. Past this diversion, at Oasis Park is an arboretum with covered benches, fix-it station, and a section of Old Road 37 (the main road from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs in the 1920's). Just beyond this point at Curlew Road, a spur connects to Honeymoon Island State Park - 4 miles of beach, popular for shelling, and a ferry to Caladesi Island make this Florida's most popular State Park. The bridge past Curlew Rd. was closed for repairs at this writing (Feb. 2018), detour marked.


Tarpon Springs

Tarpon Springs is another old downtown revitalized by the Pinellas Trail passing through the center. Here the trail runs down the middle of the street, past the old Train Depot (1909, now a historic museum)and past few shops and restaurants. For recreational bikers, we believe the Trail between old Dunedin to just past old downtown Tarpon Springs is one of the most pleasant sections to ride.


Tarpon Springs tourism

It's a short ride to the historic Tarpon Springs sponge docks, turn on Live Oak Rd. Centered on Dodecanese Blvd., this is a "pre-Disney" tourist spot, still popular with plenty of tourist shops, and some very good Greek restaurants reflecting the large Greek-American population - the largest percentage of any U.S. city.


Tarpon Springs to Keystone Road

Past Tarpon Springs, the Pinellas Trail turns to the west, leaving the original rail line and running mostly alongside roads with almost no shade. Shortly after turning west, a short but scenic trail spur leads to North Anclote Nature Park - restrooms, playground, picnic table, nature trails, fishing pier, boardwalk, and kayak/canoe launch. Past the Nature Park, the trail goes under U.S. Hwy 19, around a subdivision, along  N. Jasmine Ave. and Melon St. before emerging onto Keystone Road. It continues along Keystone Road to East Lake Road where it splits - south as part of the evolving Pinellas Trail Loop, and west as part of the evolving Florida Coast-to-Coast Trail.


East Lake Road

The trail continues south along East Lake Road about 4 miles to John Chestnut Sr. Park in Palm Harbor - parking, restrooms, picnic, playgrounds, playing fields, boat ramp onto Lake Tarpon, canoe trail. This begins the eastern leg of the Pinellas Trail Loop back to St. Petersburg.


Pinellas Trail - Coast-to-Coast Extension

Going west from East Lake Road, the Trail continues along Keystone Road past Brooker Creek Preserve where it turns north to the Pasco County line. The section north runs between Pinellas County's Brooker Creek Reserve and a Hillsborough County Nature Preserve is very quiet, but little shade. This section fills a gap along the Florida Coast to Coast Trail.

More About the Pinellas Trail

For most of its route, the well-marked Pinellas Trail runs on an old CRX railroad corridor from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs, linking communities along its length and credited with the resurgence of downtown Dunedin and Tarpon Springs. The trail is a Florida jewel which has been named a member of the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame. This designation is based on merits such as scenic value, high use, trail and trailside amenities, historical significance, excellence in management and maintenance of facility, and geographic distribution. The Pinellas Trail truly meets all criteria!

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