With very few mountains to climb along the Gulf Coast, finding a terrain that’s tough and intense can be as challenging as a perhaps climbing Pikes Peak. But the University of West Florida along with Pensacola Off Road Cyclist’s (PORC) club has taken that challenge and delivered. The trail consists of two loops equaling around 20 miles through the thickets of the Florida backcountry.
The two loops are designated as the Main Loop, (green, red, and blue), and the Games Loop, (pink, purple and orange). The trails difficulty range from beginner to intermediate. The surface consists of roots, sandy areas, and hard packed dirt. There are a few places of elevations and quick descents. If you’ve been riding a more intense mountainous terrain, this is a great spot to keep in shape but not as rigorous.
What Makes It Great
The trails are maintained well and updated with chutes, ladders, and climbs. The Games Loop is a series of single-tracks and long fast double-tracks. The orange loop encompasses the entire length of the Games trail which is about 10 miles long. A clay pit, circa 1950, clashes with the flat sandy slopes for some etched character that definitely resists being tame and boring.
The Main Loop includes a shorter ride by following the green loop. The red loop provides a longer trail and can connect with the blue extension which provides more technical maneuvers.
Who is Going to Love It
Beginners and intermediates wanting to keep and improve their stamina and endurance will find the UWF trail a great spot to do so. Others wanting to hone their skill levels and dig into a more challenging workout than a road ride will appreciate the aspects that this trail has to offer.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Directions/Parking (UWF Map) From the campus of the University of West Florida. Head northeast on Campus Dr., turn left onto University Pkwy for 0.8 miles. Turn right onto E Nine Mile Rd. (US-90-ALT), for 1.6 miles. Turn right onto Guidy Ln. for 1.0 miles, turn left onto E Ten Mile Rd. for 0.2 miles. Turn right onto Pate St. (a service road to the Crist Power Plant) for 0.5 miles. Past Country Ridge Subdivision, take the dirt road which runs beside Pate Rd. It will lead to parking on right just outside the trailhead. Entrance to the trail is marked, “Pate Road Trail”. No fee for parking.
Regulations Cyclists must yield to foot traffic and equestrians. Opened from Dawn to midnight. No person shall disturb, harm or molest any wildlife, which is found on campus. Only guide/services dogs are permitted within university buildings. Pets may be walked on campus provided they are on a leash. All visitors must on campus must obtain a visitor’s pass. Leave No Trace trail policy. Ride on open trails only. No motorized vehicles.