Bike Trail Review: Alafia River State Park

This is a guest post by Jeff!

IMG_3291If you look up flow in a modern dictionary, Alafia River Mountain Bike Trail would come up as a synonym. Resist the temptation of applying the brakes and you will be rewarded with seemingly effortless transitions from peak to peak as you navigate the plethora of drops and climbs throughout the trail. From the campground, travel east to access the trail, and if your skills allow it, my recommendation would be to take the first left off the fire road into North Creek Trail (intermediate) toward Twisted Sister. However, be advised that you will need your game face on immediately upon entering Twisted Sister, which can be seen at the trail junction on the right.  If leaving from the trail head parking lot, head east from there, then take the first trail to the right into North Creek Trail.

IMG_3302If you are out on a leisurely Sunday drive, then take the first right from the fire road onto the River Loop (easy), followed by Rock Garden and Sand Pine. The end of Sand Pine gets a little sandy during the dry season (generally winter in Florida), but all of it is rideable. This trail has it all, including a great balance of easy, intermediate, difficult, and double-black runs. Spending a week out here just leaves you wanting more. The mountain bike trail was a gift from the Phosphate mining industry who piled up overburden in their quest to access the deeper phosphate minerals to later sell as fertilizer, after processing. This overburden was then crafted and shaped by trail artisans, and the trail was born.

IMG_3366After finishing Twisted Sister, follow it up with Magic Island, and Buzzard Bay, and by the time you exit North Creek you should be fully warmed up for the remaining adventure. After that take a left off the North Creek exit and finish out your run with Gator Back (Double Black!), Bridges, Rabbit Ears, Roller Coaster, and if you are not too tired, give Moonscape a go. After completing all of these intermediate, black, and double-black trails, 14.5 miles were logged.

This trail definitely ranks as one of the top trails in Florida, and the SWAMP club should be proud of this masterpiece.

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