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blueBlack The Best of Alafia River State Park

  4.9 ( 45 ) Favorite

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Trail

8.5 mile 13.7 kilometer loop
95% Singletrack
Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 133' 41 m
Descent: -132' -40 m
High: 111' 34 m
Low: 71' 22 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 1% (0°)
Max Grade: 3% (2°)

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Trail shared by Ben Drawbaugh

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All the best trails at Alafia River State Park.

Ben Drawbaugh

E-Bikes Allowed

Features -none-

Park opens from sunrise to sunset (unless you are camping), it's $5 per car, a day, or $4 for an individual.

Overview

This is without a doubt my favorite route through Alafia. It includes all the intermediate and difficult trails, but not easy or extremely difficult (which are definitely worthy of your time as well). It passes by a nice creek, many lakes and will have you coming back for more.

Need to Know

The only water is at the trailhead, but it is never too far away. There are also very nice bathrooms, a bike repair station (complete with tools) and two covered pavilions with grills.

Description

Start off with my favorite trail at Alafia, North Creek Trail, which is best when the creek is flowing. This trail is a solid, fast and flowy intermediate, but there are a few very fun hard options that quickly loop back. The only option that anyone skips is Buzzard Bay, which is probably due to the smell.

Next up is the first fun half of Bridges and Shelly's Loop, which is short but a big rush. Flip on over to Frank's Loop, try the challenging descent through a rock box and don't worry, there's only an alligator infested, algae covered swap in the way if you blow it. Go ahead and hit OAF and Garden Ridge while you're there because they are awesome -- Garden Ridge is two ways, so I'd do it as an out and back instead of looping with an easy trail.

Next, cross back over to the second half of bridges (North Bridges) where you'll cross two long slender bridges before weaving your way to the most fun double you can try to clear at the park and look out for the perfectly placed berm right after (no brakes required...braap!). There's a challenging lattice climb soon after with an optional difficult extension where you'll find some ups and downs and a great step-up jump that I'm sure you'll do more than once.

Finally, head towards Rollercoaster and take a quick detour on the three Rabbit Ears (if you can do all three without taking a break, you're in great shape). Rollercoaster certainly deserves its name, and the only thing that is in question is if it's the best trail at Alafia. It starts off slow through a twisty and well-shaded area before getting to a section we like to call roller flow because of the ups and downs.

Eventually, it leads to what's best described as a pump track through the woods referred to as "The Red Dragon." The dragon isn't red anymore, because I guess they couldn't find any more red clay, but there are more pumps, berms, and jumps than you can handle -- including a 4-foot gap jump, which is optional. In addition, there are three hard options and a table top jump you may have to wait in line for on a busy day.

Bring it all home, to the trailhead, and either do it again, go for more on the extremely difficult trails or cool down on the flowy easy trails.

History & Background

Alafia River State Park is located in Bone Valley we use the terms mountain and valley very liberally in Florida which contains the largest known deposits of phosphate in the world. Located between Tampa and Orlando, Bone Valley has been mined for over a hundred years. Up until the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act of 1975, the mining companies werent required to restore the land, and when the Lonesome Mine was determined dry in 1966, the company let nature take its course.

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Check-Ins

Apr 27, 2019
Antonio Meza
Mar 11, 2019
Will Hathaway
Mar 6, 2019
Tom Dailey
Demo, transition scout, 27.5, great ride. Mostly blue, black included derailed. 10mi — 1h 30m
Mar 2, 2019
Tom Dailey
8.5mi
Feb 23, 2019
Lisa Lee
Feb 17, 2019
Erwin Gurion
Feb 17, 2019
Chuck Riegel
nice trail system in Florida. got stung by something in the lip :( 12.7mi — 1h 45m
Feb 15, 2019
Stacey Vaughan
9mi

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Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 45 votes

#120

Overall
  4.9 from 45 votes
5 Star
87%
4 Star
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Rankings

#1

in Florida

#120

Overall
410 Views Last Month
33,883 Since Jun 18, 2015
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Photos

Ben Drawbaugh
Tampa, FL
Ben Drawbaugh   Tampa, FL
There are only two trails at Alafia you should probably avoid if you don’t ride everything at Santos, and that is Gatorback and Moonscape. Sep 20, 2017
AJ L
Florida
AJ L   Florida
Thank you very much! Sep 20, 2017
I rode north creek several times and realized later that i never saw any signs for twisted sister or magic island. Nov 12, 2017

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