I didn’t notice a lot of shade along the trail so sunscreen and sunglasses are a necessary item. Though I didn’t experience any issues, some of the areas are wetlands so biting insects could be an issue during certain times of the year so, perhaps, insect repellant might be in order.
I rode this trail on the same day that I rode the Boca Grande Bike Path. I would not recommend riding your bike from one trail to the other. The Boca Grande Causeway is not designed for bicycle traffic. The roadbed is very narrow with sandy shoulders for most of its length.
Looking at Google Maps, the most direct route is to the northern most trailhead. Take exit 179 off Interstate 75 (either south or north). Head south on N. Toledo Blade Boulevard. At the intersection with El Jobean Road (County Road 776), head southwest on El Jobean Road. El Jobean Road will become South McCall Road. At the intersection with County Road 771, turn south onto CR 771. The trailhead is about 1,000 feet south of the intersection of S. McCall & CR 771. The trailhead is located on the west side of CR 771.
15.5 Miles – From the Mercer Trailhead (northern terminus) to the boardwalk overlook just north of the Gasparilla Road bridge and back to the Mercer Trailhead.
For more information on the trail itself or the community of Placida and Rotonda West, check out the links and gallery pictures below.
This is a fairly short trail. If you are looking for a flat and fast trail to do a workout, this will fit the bill The trail bed is in excellent shape. There aren’t an excessive amount of road crossings and traffic in the area is relatively light.
There are facilities at the main Trailhead.
Very little shade.
The arrow straight trail may seem dull to some riders.
If you are doing this ride in the early morning hours (before, say, 11AM), then you can probably get by without sunscreen. As the sun clears the trees on the east side of the trail, you will need sunscreen since there are very few trees lining the western side of the trail. Also, if you stop for any time along the beaches in Gasparilla Island State Park, you will definitely be in need of sunscreen and a pair of sunglasses (the white, sugar sands are blinding).
I took exit 193 off Interstate 75 and headed south and west on Jacaranda Boulevard. Jacaranda Boulevard dead-ends at Englewood Road (County Road 776). Take Englewood Road southeasterly. It will become first North Indiana and then South Indiana before finally becoming S. McCall Road. Head south on Placida Road and finally turn onto Boca Grande Causeway. There is a toll and they do not accept Credit, Debit Cards or SunPass. I am not aware of any designated trailhead parking. I simply parked at the first Shopping Center I encountered at the northern end of the trail.
13.6 Miles – From the shopping center just south of Boca Grande Resort to the Port Boca Grande Light and back. The mileage also includes a ride out to the nearby Boca Grande Fishing Pier.
For more information on the trail itself or the community of Boca Grande, check out the links and gallery pictures below.
This is a fairly short trail. There is a lot to see and do along the trail – take your time and explore this lovely barrier island. The trail is flat and travels right through the heart of central Boca Grande. All in all, a fine ride.
There are facilities at the Gasparilla Island State Park Beach access located about 2/3rds the way down the trail.
Just too short but, what can you do, you only have the length of Gasparilla Island to work with. 🙂
The golf carts that everyone uses around the island can be a hindrance at times.