North Anclote River Nature Park – Tarpon Springs, Pinellas County, Florida

Before You Go:

If you just tool around the park area, you shouldn’t require the normal Florida equipment.  However, if planning to spend extended period of time in the park or adding to the length of the trail by biking the nearby Pinellas Trail, you should plan to have sunscreen, sunglasses and biking gloves.  The North Anclote River does run through the park so insect repellant is probably advisable during the rainy summy months.

Getting There:

I actually rode to this park off the Pinellas Trail.  The actual address of the park is 550 Old Dixie Highway, Tarpon Springs, FL.  MapQuest would probably be a better way to locate the park from your location rather than me trying to describe how to get to the park entrance.  Alternatively, you can zoom in on the map below to get an idea of the park’s location.

Trail Length

Biking just along the paths in the park is about 3 miltes (I came up with 2.88 miles but didn’t hit every trail).  For the biker that needs a little more meat to their rides, I would suggest adding the park as a stop along the longer Pinellas Trail.  There is access to the park directly off the Pinellas Trail.

The Trail

Facilities:

  • There are facilities at the main entrance to the park on Old Dixie Highway.
  • There are facilities in the southeast corner of the park near the Redfish Point overlook.

The Cons:

  • Except for the portion that comes in off the Pinellas Trail, the trails are not paved.  The trailbed consists of crushed shell/limestone mix.
  • The length of the trail – too short.  It would be nice to see the section that comes off the Pinellas Trail extended toward Tarpon Springs and, possibly, link up with the Sponge Docks.

The Pros:

  • Nice views of the North Anclote River basin.
  • Lots of flora and fauna kept in a very natural state.  The park is kept in a fairly natural state.

If you like minimal human intrusion, you will enjoy this park.  As mentioned above, though, you will probably want to make this a stop as a part of a longer ride along the Pinellas Trail.  Despite its small size, it is still well worth the extra time to spend wandering around the park.

Links:

North Anclote River Nature Park

A little traveled jewel just off the Pinellas Trail!

Happy Trails ~ John

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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