Pinellas Trail Pop Stansell Memorial Park to Keystone Road, Palm Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Pinellas County, Florida

Before You Go:

Normal Florida cycling gear is always recommended – a helmet, a good pair of sunglasses, sunscreen and a pair of cushioned cycling gloves.  For this leg, if you do the side trek through Wall Springs Park, insect repellant is recommended.

Getting There:

I began this leg at the H. S. “Pop” Stansell Memorial Park (ain’t that a mouth full) in Palm Harbor.  The easiest way to get to the park is by heading either north or south (depending on your location) on U. S. Highway 19 and turning west on Tampa Road.  From Tamp Road, continue west until you reach Palm Harbor Boulevard (also known as ALT US 19 & County Road 595).  Head north on Palm Harbor Boulevard for approximately one mile and turn west onto Florida Avenue.  Florida Avenue’s western end is the “Pop” Stansell Memorial Park entrance.

Trail Length

16 miles according to the GPX file that marks the route on the map.  You can increase the length of this ride by including the ride through Walll Springs Park or by starting the ride further to the south (south of H. S. “Pop” Stansell Memorial Park – Palm Harbor).

The Trail

Facilities:

  • There are facilities at “Pop” Stansell Memorial Park in Palm Harbor (the starting point for this leg).
  • There are facilities at Wall Springs Park adjacent to the trail.
  • There are facilities within North Anclote River Nature Park as well as the entrance to the park on Dixie Highway.

The Cons:

  • For the serious cyclist, the road crossings will probably be an annoyance.  Take extra care at the Klosterman Road crossing as you enter Tarpon Springs.  Although the intersection is traffice controlled, many people coming up from the south and turning east onto Klosterman do not necessarily stop for cyclists.
  • If you are even slightly taxed by even small climbs, be aware that there are small inclines as you progress toward Tarpon Springs and near the turnaround point at Keystone Road.  The terrain is a little more “raised” – can’t really call these hills *grin*.
  • The crossing of Tarpon Avenue in Tarpon Springs.  It is better now, though, since they installed a blinking signal that can be activated by users of the trail.  Though, the morning I crossed, crossing traffic seemed oblivious to the blinking signals.  Exercise caution!  Still a dangerous crossing even with the added cross signals.

The Pros:

  • The small rises, mentioned above, also a “pro” since it is welcome change from the relatively flat terrain to the south and west.
  • Wall Springs Park, with its spring fed water and views of Boggy Bayou are a highlight. Link follows below this section.
  • Also in Wall Springs Park, the observation tower offers great views of the surrounding park.
  • The Suncoast Primate Sanctuary.  I was fortunate enough to grab a picture of one of its residents.  You can see him (or her) in the upper right corner of the picture in the gallery below (click on the picture to see a larger version).  Consider a donation to this worthy organization.  There is a link to their website below.
  • The road underpasses are unique to this area of Florida since the water table is relatively high.  Another pro is they finally cleaned out the bats that inhabited the underpasses for a couple of years!
  • The section through Tarpon Springs is a great spot for stopping for a bite to eat or just to relax.

There is quite a bit to see and do along this stretch of the Pinellas Trail. From the eccletic eating experiences in Tarpon Springs, to the wonders of the nature world awaiting at Wall Springs Park, there is something for every cycling level along the Pinellas Trail.

Links:
Suncoast Primate Sanctuary
Wall Springs Park

Always a pleasure riding the Pinellas 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