This review is from not a die hard biker, but from someone who likes to ride for fun and exercise.
This is a trail in the NW portion of Tampa. It is just under 8 miles one way. I parked on the very south end trail head. I was coming from the east. I traveled down Hillsborough avenue. (One of the web sites says to take Pistol Range Rd to the right. But DO NOT take this. It is a dead end rd) Took a R on Montague St and when you get to the round-about go to the right. You will see the trail head just a short way up on the right. It is well marked with a large sign that says The Upper Tampa Bay Trail. There is only parking at this trailhead. Some of the other trailheads do have more parking, water,and bathroom facilities.
The very first part of this trail started out along side of the street. Once you got to the next trailhead up, you then were on the more green/natural part of the trail. I was actually pleasantly surprised with the trail. It was quiet. The trails were wide, paved, and winding. That was really nice since so many trails are a boring straight line. You do ride along some water and will pass over some small canals. There are plenty of birds in the area. A good half of the trail you will feel like you are in the country with rolling, green hills nearby. Probably one of the nicest trils I have been on in Hillsborough County.
The trail was well traveled with other bikers, walkers, joggers, and skaters. I found that around the Gunn Hwy area, the trail was probably the most congested with walkers, assuming that there are more residential areas nearby. To pass over Gunn hwy, there is a nice, and steep, overpass. Actually very convenient. The only busy street that you will have to cross is Ehrlich rd. Although there is a stop light/cross walk, so it can be safe.
There are plenty of areas to stop and get water along the trail. There are also benches and places to stop and rest. If you enjoy riding, and stopping at restaurants along the way, in the more northern portion of the trail, you can veer off at Gunn hwy for a few restaurants, and there are also a restaurant (Ballyhoo Grill) at the trail right at Ehrlich rd crossing.
I can't think of much negative to say about the trail, outside of it being too short. Eventually it will link up to the Suncoast Trail, but that is still a ways off. And if you need a bike, or need to rent a bike for friends to come along, I did see a bike rental place at the north end of the Gunn hwy overpass. I am sorry, I didn't see the name of the place. But at least you know it is there if you need it.
I am a female, biking solo, and I felt safe while there. I saw other solo riders, and joggers, as well as several family members traveling together. So if you live close to the area and you want a nice ride through nature, without worrying about cars, you really should check this trail out.
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