There is a mix of sun and shade along this trail. If you just do a single loop and are riding in the early morning and early evening, you should be fine without sunscreen. During the rainy summer months, insect repellant is strongly recommended. Just stopping to snap some pictures and I was swarmed by mosquitoes. Also, there is a fee to use the park. It is on the honor system and the fee is currently $2.00. Bring cash (or a pen to write an IOU *smile*).
From either north or south on Interstate 75, take exit 270, Bruce B Downs Boulevard. The trailhead will be about a mile east on the south side of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.
Note: I am trying a new plugin for generating my GPX files. Hope you like it better than the previous plugin.
14.2 Miles – From the Bruce B. Downs Trailhead out to the Morris Bridge Road entrance and back to Bruce B. Downs Trailhead. It also includes the short spur to the east when returning for Morris Bridge Road just before the pylons prohibiting motorized traffic.
The trail bed is in excellent shape. During the rainy season, the dip in the trail near the Hillsborough River can be flooded. There is a bridge cut around that you can use. Please be courteous since the bridge is narrow and there isn’t enough for cycling across the bridge. It would be safer for all involved if you walk your bike if using the cut around.
There are facilities at the Bruce B. Downs trailhead.
There are facilities at the Main Entrance at Morris Bridge Road
There are several spots along the trail with fresh water and they seem to keep the water stocked throughout the day.
There are a lot of casual bikers and joggers throughout the park. Some of them don’t seem aware of approaching cyclists.
The trail is a little on the short side.
If you have never been to the trail, and since a lot of people don’t carry cash any more, the $2.00 fee can be a problem. There doesn’t seem to be an alternative payment option.
The trail bed is in excellent shape.
Nice pine uplands and scrub habitat
In the rainy season, Trout Creek flowing across the trail bed.
Except for a couple of miles of wooded area in the northern section of this trail, there is virtually no shade along the trail. If not riding in the early morning or early evening, sunscreen and sunglasses are definitely recommended. There are not a lot of opportunities for fresh water along the trail so carry some along to stay hydrated.
Getting there is fairly simple. Take either Interstate 95 North or South and proceed to Exit 284 which is Highway 100 (East Moody Boulevard). Head east to the waterfront. There is free parking at the Flagler Beach Pier. I didn’t see any signs limiting the duration of parking but things do change so be aware of any posted signs regarding parking or metering.
38.2 Miles – From the Flagler Beach Pier, south to the Flagler County Line, north through Flagler Beach, Beverly Beach and Painters Hill to the southern outskirts of Marineland. Heading back south from Marineland and arriving back at the point of origin at the Flagler Beach Pier.
For much of the trail’s length, the Atlantic Ocean is to your east. Unlike the Pinellas County coast (where I live), the Flagler County coastline is not lined, wall to wall, with high-rise hotels, condominiums and timeshares. The coast has long stretches of undeveloped coastline.
This trail is much longer than the normal trail (or trail sections) that I recap. It is a flat course and the trailbed is in relatively good shape. There can be congestion around more populated areas such as Flagler Beach. Exercise caution as it seemed most people walking on the trail were oblivious to bikes sharing their space.
There are facilities at the Flagler Pier.
There are facilities at the welcome center for Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Center (across from the main entrance).
There are facilities at Varn Park (where the trail crosses over to the east side of Ocean Shore Boulevard).
There are facilities where the trail currently ends at the Marineland City Limit.
Very little shade.
The constant traffic along 1A (North Ocean Shore Boulevard).