Progress Energy Trail – Clearwater – Pinellas County, Florida

Before You Go:

This is, other than the bridge to nowhere further north, the only section of the Progress Energy Trail.  I have read that there is finally some news on extending the trail, there is budgeting for extending the trail to the north in the 2014 budget.

There is no shade along the trail proper.  There is shade at the beginning of the trail that is part of the Ream Wilson Trail. Sunscreen and sunglasses are highly recommended during the afternoon hours.

Getting There:

The starting point of this trail is the same point I started on the Ream Wilson Trail.  The link to the post is Ream Wilson Trail Recap.

Trail Length:

This loop is only 7.18 miles.  Five miles of the trail is comprised of the Progress Energy Trail.  It is about 1.1 miles from the Long Center to the intersection with the Progress Energy trail.

The Trail:

The trailbed is in decent shape.  It is nice that they didn’t make the trail arrow straight but, rather, built some curves into the design.

The trail, being so short, can be turned into a longer ride by adding the Ream Wilson Trail (link is above).

Facilities:

  • There are facilities at Long Center at the start of the trail.

The Cons:

  • The length of the trail; too short.
  • There are some very busy streets to cross.  Mainly the crossing at Highway 60.  Be careful!

The Pros:

  • The curves built into the design.
  • Easy access to the Ream Wilson Trail.
  • The electrical easement is wide enough that there are opportunities to view minor wildlife along the trail.

Links:

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Weaver Park to Clearwater Beach – Dunedin, Clearwater, Clearwater Beach – Pinellas County, Florida

Before You Go:

There is no shade along this trail so wear sunscreen.  You can burn even in the winter months on a clear Florida day.

Getting There:

I began my ride at Weaver Park in Dunedin.  From U.S. Highway 19 (approaching from the north or south), head west on Main street (County Road 580) toward the Gulf of Mexico.  Around Bass Boulevard, Main Street will branch off and head toward the south and west.  Stay on County Road 580 which becomes Skinner Boulevard.  Where Skinner Boulevard intersects Broadway (County Road 595/Alternate Highway 19), head north on Broadway.  Weaver Park will be on your left – there is parking on either side of Alt. 19.

Trail Length

15.88 Miles – From Weaver Park parking on the west side of Alternate Highway 19 south through Dunedin through north Clearwater.  Through downtown Clearwater to the Clearwater Memorial Causeway Bridge.  Out to Clearwater Beach and heading back to the point of origin.

The Trail

Check out the links and gallery pictures below.

If you like being near the water, you will love this ride. It starts at JC Weaver Park just north of downtown Dunedin. You head south to the Dunedin Marina with its fine views of Old Clearwater Bay. Continuing south, you will meander between the shores of Old Clearwater Bay to your west and Edgewater Drive to your east.

Once you cross the bridge at the southern terminus of the Edgewater Trail, Edgewater Drive becomes North Fort Harrison Avenue and you have entered the city of Clearwater. Continue south along Fort Harrison (you will be sharing the roadway with automobiles) and head west on Seminole Street. If you want to make a small detour, there is a marina in the process of being renovated at the western end of Seminole Street.

Head south on North Osceola Avenue, west on Jones Street and then south where Osceola Avenue picks up again. From there, head west on Drew Street which curves to the south to follow the waterfront. There is a trail that runs parallel to Drew Street and crosses under the Clearwater Memorial Causeway bridge.

You will see a spiral ramp that leads up to the Clearwater Memorial Causeway Bridge. A pedestrian/bike trail parallels the bridge on both sides. I would suggest the side connected to the spiral ramp. At certain times of year (spring break comes to mind), it is almost impossible to cross the Causeway. So, the spiral ramp keeps you from the headache of later having to cross congested Clearwater Memorial Causeway.

Be sure to stop at the top of the bridge to see the fine views of the intercoastal and downtown Clearwater. It is an easy ride out to Clearwater Beach from the top of the Causeway Bridge. There are plenty of things to see and do in Clearwater Beach. Check out the link below for more information.

Facilities:

  • There are facilities at Edgewater Park which fronts along the Dunedin Marina

The Cons:

  • This route features sections where there is no designated trail.  You will be sharing the road with other vehicles.
  • If you aren’t in the greatest shape, the climb up the Clearwater Memorial Causeway Bridge could be taxing.
  • The congestion of foot traffic and, traffic in general, around Clearwater Beach.

The Pros:

  • The scenery.
  • The Dunedin Marina.
  • If you are in good shape, the climb up the Clearwater Memorial Causeway Bridge. 🙂
  • The Clearwater Memorial Causeway Bridge – my love for bridges continues!

Links:

Clearwater Trail Map – Western Section
Dunedin
Clearwater – Coachman Park
Clearwater – Clearwater Beach
 

Send me an email. I would love to hear from you!

Happy Trails ~ John

Ream Wilson Trail – Kapok Park Extension, Clearwater – Pinellas County, Florida

Before You Go:

The trail is a mix of shaded and open space but is relatively short.  If you make this a part of the longer Ream Wilson Trail ride from Long Center to Philippe Park, then you will need sunscreen, sunglasses and the usual helmet and cycling gloves.

Getting There:

The easiest way to get to the Kapok Park Extension is to access it off the Ream Wilson Trail. If that is your plan, here is the link to my Ream Wilson Trail Recap (look for the “Getting There” section).

If you just want to explore this area, the easiest access to the trail is the Glen Oak Avenue Trailhead. From the south, head north on McMullen Booth Road (County Road 611). Turn west onto Terrace View Lane. Terrace View Lane ends at Moss Avenue. Turn north onto Moss Avenue which, in turn, ends at Glen Oak Avenue. Turn west onto Glen Oak Avenue. The street dead ends at the trailhead. Use the map below to zoom in and out to get your bearings.)

Trail Length

1.92 Miles – From the Glen Oak Avenue trailhead out to Stephens Park to the crossing at the main Ream Wilson Trail and back to the Glen Oak Avenue trailhead.

The Trail

Facilities:

  • There were no facilities

The Cons:

  • Nothing of note. The shortness of the trail but that can be remedied by adding this short ride as a sidetrip off the longer main trail (link noted above)

The Pros:

  • The scenery.
  • The wildlife.

As stated elsewhere, this is a small side trip off the main Ream Wilson Trail. It is worth the stop to take in the beautiful surroundings of this lovely preserved area. From what I’ve read, this used to be home to a mobile home park but the city of Clearwater redeveloped the area as a flood control project. Well done!

Links:

Ream Wilson Trail Map – Eastern Section
Kapok Park – City of Clearwater

Send me an email. I would love to hear from you!

Happy Trails ~ John

Ream Wilson Trail-Bayshore Linear Greenway-Philippe Park from Long Center to Philippe Park (Loop) – Clearwater, Safety Harbor, Pinellas County, Florida

Before You Go:

The trail is a mix of shaded and open space.  It only takes 20 minutes of direct sun to get a nice sunburn in Florida.  Sunscreen is recommended for the fair of skin.  Always recommended – helmet, pair of good sunglasses and cushioned gloves.

Getting There:

The starting point for this ride was Long Center in Clearwater located at 1501 North Belcher Road, Clearwater, FL 33765.  It is easily accessible from U.S. Highway 19 approaching from either the north or south.  From the north, head west on Sunset Point Road and then south on Belcher.  From the south, head southwesterly on NE Coachman Road and turn north onto Belcher Road.  Long Center sits about 1/2 way between these two major roads.  It is on the east side of Belcher Road and there is ample parking on the weekends.

Trail Length

15.5 Miles – from Long Center east and north along the Ream Wilson Trail then north along the Bayshore Linear Greenspace in Palm Harbor.  Turning about in Philippe Park to return to the point of origin.

The Trail

Facilities:

  • There are facilities in Long Center
  • There are facilities at the Safety Harbor Marina
  • There are facilities within Philippe Park

The Cons:

  • There are a few sections where the trail width is very narrow especially some of the bridges along the western portion of the trail.
  • There is a 10% grade hill around the entrance to Kapok Park.

The Pros:

  • The scenery in the western portion is heavily wooded and crosses several streams.
  • This isn’t a straight arrow trail.  There is a fair amount of twists and turns along the western portion of the trail.
  • The 10% grade hill that I mentioned as a con above 🙂
  • The views of Old Tampa Bay along the eastern end of the trail as you turn north.
  • Safety Harbor Marina is a perfect rest stop.

This is one of my favorite rides in Pinellas County.  You ride through a variety of ecosystems and the trail has enough turns to keep it interesting.  If you have the time, a side trip through Kapok Park is worth the time and effort.

Links:

Ream Wilson Trail Map – Eastern Section
Bayshore Linear Greenway Recreational Trail

Happy Trails ~ John

Pinellas Trail Mile Marker 17.5 to 28 – Belleair, Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Pinellas County, Florida

Before You Go:

Except for the Dunedin Trailhead, there are no designated facilities along this section of the trail.  There are, however, some stores adjacent to the trail as you travel through Clearwater.  As always, I advocate a good pair of biking gloves to relieve palm pressure and a helmet whenever venturing out on your bicycle.  Whenever traveling outdoors in Florida for any lenght of time, it is a good idea to wear sunscreen.

Getting There:

Since I rode this on the weekend, I parked at an office complex just off Alternate 19 near the Belleaire Golf Course & Country Club.  Zoom  in on the map below to find your best starting point and to get your bearings.

Trail Length

20.1 miles according to the GPX file that marks the route on the map.  I believe I mismarked the turnaround point – the length should be 21 miles.

The Trail

Facilities:

  • The Dunedin Trailhead has water and restrooms along with a wealth of restaurants along Main Street.
  • There is a 7-11 adjacent to the trail just south of downtown Clearwater.
  • At the intersection of the trail and Curlew Road (County Road 586), there is a McDonalds at the northwest side of the intersection and a large shopping plaza just behind the McDonalds.

The Cons:

  • Like the trek to downtown St. Petersburg, there are many street crossings since this is a trail running through the most densely populated county in Florida.
  • The route through downtown Clearwater. At least they did make an improvement by moving the trail off the sidewalks and onto a designated portion of the road.

The Pros:

  • The view of St. Josephs Sound from the overpass at Alternate 19 (just north of the Curlew Road intersection mentioned above).
  • Dunedin – no community seems to have embraced the Pinellas Trail like this picturesque community.
  • A small bridge just before the Stephenson Avenue crossing – you get your first glimpse of the Gulf of Mexico just west of the trail.

The section starting from Dunedin and all points north of there are my absolute favorite part of the trail.  Being such a nice section, it is also a very heavily used part of the trail.  You will encounter a lot of joggers, in-line skaters and fellow cyclists.

As nice as the Dunedian, at north, section of the trail is; I can’t say the same for the section through Clearwater.  Watch some of the road crossing south of downtown.  Some of the gutters are deep “V” shaped and, if you hit them the right way, are fairly bone jarring.  It just is not a pleasant route through downtown.  I truly believe they did the best job they could accommodating the trail.

Always a pleasure riding the Pinellas Trail!

Happy Trails ~ John