Alafia River State Park - Mountain Biking

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Summary

Alafia River State Park offers over 25 miles of mountain bike trails. From beginner access roads and trails to expert level technical single track this is a must ride in the Tampa Bay area.

Written by

Robert Tucker

Distance

25.0 miles

There are so many options here it is awesome! From a quick Easy Green 5 mile loop to an all day excursion through the entire trail system of 25 or more miles, you will find the perfect distance for you and your skill level. Don't let the Blues and Blacks scare you—there are bail out points everywhere if you get in over your head.

Destination Distance From Downtown

31.3 miles

Difficulty

3 of 5 diamonds

The Alafia trail system ranges from 1 star all the way through a 4 star. You will find any experience to keep you challenged yet have a blast and stay safe. Stay on the access roads or Green Circle trails if you are new to Mountain Biking or looking for something for the entire family. If you are feeling a bit friskier try the Blue Square trails (just like snow ski mountain rankings) or even go for broke on the Black Diamond or Double Black Diamond trails. Fair warning: there are some surprising drops and challenges on the Black Diamond trails. Regardless of your technical ability or level of experience, you will find exactly what you are looking for on this trail system.

Time To Complete

5 hours

Depending upon what trail you take expect your ride to vary from as little as an hour to 5 plus. The options are almost endless as most trails can be ridden in either direction (except the Black Diamond trails) and opens the options to over 50 miles of trails!

Seasonality

All Seasons

This trail is open all year round. The only questionable times are the wonderful rainy summer season that drives all Floridians crazy! For complete up to date info on trail closures, visit the area Mountain Bike Association (SWAMP) that keeps the trails maintained and rideable... http://swampclub.org. And make sure you give these guys some kudos as they work tirelessly to keep these and other area trails up to speed.

Dog Friendly

Yes

Our 4 legged furry friends are always welcome at Alafia, as long as they are kept on a leash. Make sure that you keep an eye out for horse and give them a wide passing lane as they may spook if you have fido with you.

Fees Permits

Yes

$5.00 per vehicle (2-8 occupants) or an Annual Pass is available that is valid for all Florida State Parks

Review

Intro

Alafia River State Park is a well-known local off road mecca just 45 minutes southeast from Downtown Tampa Bay. With over 25 miles of trails for all abilities, you will think you've hit the Florida mountain biking jackpot!

Be ready to explore the wide open access roads circling the park and dive into any of the singletrack trailheads that you will pass almost non-stop. Wind your way through fast singletrack snaking through tree covered canopies and along the Alafia River and its many off-shoot ponds. Those ponds are known to have really large pre-historic lizards so don’t be tempted to jump in!

What Makes It Great

There are many things that make Alafia the trail mecca for the Tampa Bay area. As you are making the trek you will see so much of old Florida charm. Make sure to watch for the Tropicana orange fields or stop by the local strawberry fields and pick up some of the sweetest and juiciest strawberry's that you've ever had. You might not believe that you've left the hustle and bustle of such a large and thriving city as Tampa just 3o miles away. 

Once you get to the trailhead parking lot and head off you will start with some open access roads. If you start to the left from the parking lot and you will immediately see options including Roller Coaster and Moonscape on your left or Sand Pine on your right.

If you are new or a beginner, take Sand Pine and get ready for a fast and twisty single track that will take you through thick Florida forests. Watch for roots and sandy areas as you start your adventure.

If you are an advanced rider, make sure to try all 3 Rabbit Ears loops but watch out for the drops and climbs on each one as they will test your skill and legs. 

If you want to start to the right from the parking lot take the North Creek Trail entrance. You will get a chance to see the local SWAMP mountain bike clubs handiwork with log bridge creek crossings and more than a few fast singletrack options. Watch for the easier or harder signs and try your hand with steep drops and near vertical climbs. 

Who is Going to Love It

Beginners are going to feel comfortable but challenged on the 8 Green trails while those looking for serious challenges will get everything they can handle with the 7 Blue, 6 Black, and 4 Double Black trails! 

You are going to love snaking through the trees and around the various creeks and water crossings. Make sure to take the time to look around so that won't miss the eagles, hawks, deer, and maybe even an occasional rattle snake or alligator. Overall, Alafia is a terrific experience for all levels of riders and families. There is truly something for everyone and we will see you there!

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

To access the trailheads, enter at the Ranger Station ($5.00 per vehicle up to 8 people entrance fee, you can pick up a current trail map when you check in). Proceed around the traffic circle and exit to the far left (opposite of the camp ground road which is to the right when you are in the traffic circle). This will take you to the main parking area that includes public restrooms, 2 pavilions, and a bike washing facility. Remember to keep your furry friends on a leash. 

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Location

Alafia River State Park

14326 South CR 39
Lithia, FL, 33547
27.7836, -82.141586

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