Skyway Trail Extension - Winding Trail

Skyway Trail Extension – Maximo Park to Pinellas Trail, St. Petersburg, Gulfport – Pinellas County, Florida

Before You Go:

Except for the start of this trail at Maximo Park, there is no shade along this course.  Bring along sunglasses, sunscreen, a helmet and gloves.  And, during the rainy months, keep your eye to the sky since the weather can deteriorate rapidly.  Insect repellant is also recommended during the rainy season since part of this ride is through the Clam Bayou wetlands.

Getting There:

I began this ride at Maximo Park which is just a bit west of where the southern portion of the Skyway Trail used to end.  To reach Maximo Park, take the Pinellas Point Drive exit off I-275/U.S. Hwy 19 North and head west.  You will pass under I-275/U.S. Hwy 19 North and the park entrance is just after the underpass.

Trail Length

12 Miles – from Maximo Park all the way out to the trail-end where it intersects the Pinellas Trail and back.  If you ride the bicycle trail in Maximo Park and along the permeter roads within the park, the ride will be just a tad over 13 miles.

The Trail

Facilities:

  • There are facilities in Maximo Park.
  • While I didn’t not see them, I sure there are facilities at the Childs Park recreation center.

The Cons:

  • There is virtually no signage along the southern portion of the trail where the Skyway Trail used to end at Pinellas Point Drive and Skyway Lane.
  • There is no dedicated trail space from Pinellas Point Drive until you reach Loggerhead Marina.
  • It is an urban trail so there are quite a few street crossings near the beginning and turnaround portions of the trail.
  • If you ride the bike trail in Maximo Park, the southern end of the trail is in rough shape.
  • The crossing at 22nd Avenue South – use extreme caution.  There is a user activated crossing signal but, the morning I rode through the intersection, some vehicles showed reluctance to stop for the flashing crosswalk signals.

The Pros:

  • The section through Clam Bayou is beautiful.
  • Lots of elevated trailways and bridges spanning Clam Bayou.  It is a nice serpentine course through the bayou.
  • The disc golf course in Maximo Park is fun.
  • Lots of opportunities for bird watching along the trail.  I could hear baby eagles in a nest (picture in the gallery below) and watched their parents tending the eaglettes.

I was disappointed that there was no guidance in linking the old trail end to the newer section.  If you are going to have us share the road with automobiles, at least do us the courtesy of placing some signs directing us to the least traveled course to link up the two trails.  I missed the turnoff that would have saved me a lot of drama crossing the off ramps on I-275 that empty onto 54th Avenue South and having to travel along 54th Avenue South.  For those of you unfamiliar with the area, that is one busy street!

To help avoid this issue for those of you, like me, need some guidance; here is the path from the intersection of Skyway Lane and Pinellas Point Drive South (the old nothern end of the southern section of the trail):

  1. Head east along Pinellas Point Drive South.
  2. Turn north onto 31st Street South.
  3. Turn west onto 58th Avenue South.
  4. You will see a large marina on the south side of 58th Avenue South.
  5. On the west side of the marina, you will see a dedicated trail – follow it around under I-275/U.S. Hwy 19 North.
  6. You will reach a large intersection.  Cross to the north side and head west along 54th Avenue South.
  7. Turn north behind the CVS Pharmacy and continue to enjoy your trip north!

The trail through Clam Bayou is a highlight of this ride.  The Cities of St. Petersburg & Gulfport did an excellent job.  All in all, a very nice ride!!

Links:

St. Petersburg Bicycle Map

An excellent, albeit, short ride in southern St. Petersburg!

Happy Trails ~ John

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