Trail Snapshot

Trail:

7 mile paved loop with a 2 mile extension to Bruce B. Downs Blvd.

Difficulty:

Easy/Novice

Outdoor Travels Rating:

2.75 bikes out of 5 a place to ride without traffic in an urban environment, a place that is in the middle of wilderness is even better!

Thumbs Up and Down

Thumbs up:

  • Although not far from development, this loop is a real Florida wilderness experience
  • Wildlife is abundant. Turtles, alligators, all sorts of birds, armadillos and even a rare bobcat can be spotted.
  • Facilities are good
  • Surface is smooooth and fast
  • Scenery is pretty
  • Thumbs down:

  • Going around in a circle can get a little boring, even on a nice trail
  • Not much shade makes for a hot ride in the summer
  • Nuts & Bolts

    Location:

    14302 Morris Bridge Road
    Thonotosassa, FL 33592

    Facilities:

    Restrooms, water, pay telephone, cold drinks, bike wash, air and picnic tables at Flatwoods Visitor Center. Four rest shelters with water coolers and paper cups interspersed along loop road. Restrooms at Bruce B. Downs Boulevard entrance.

    Access and trailheads:

    Main Trailhead:
    The main entrance is located about five miles northeast of I-75 on Morris Bridge Road (CR-579) at Flatwoods Park Trail. The visitors center is located .5 miles in. Additional parking is another .7 miles further, where the loop begins. Bruce B. Downs Trailhead:
    The Bruce B. Downs Boulevard (CR-581) entrance is located 1 mile northeast of I-75.

    Admission:

    Donation basis

    Activities:

    Skating, walking, jogging, biking, nature walks, dog walking allowed, bird watching, picnicing

    Note:

    In times of high water, access into Flatwoods from the Bruce B. Downs Blvd. entrance may be closed due to high water at the Trout Creek crossing.

    Contact:

    Hillsborough County’s Flatwoods Park, (813) 987-6211
    Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department, (813) 672-7876

    Maps Links and Photos

    Maps and Links:

    Excellent Trail Map

    Useful Links

    Trail Photos:

    Lots of great photos to give you a good idea of what riding here is like!

    Flatwoods Paved Loop

    Gopher Tortoise

    Main Facilities

    At the "Y"

    Speed bump

    Rest area

    Riding

    Smooth surface

    Four Corners rest area

    to Bruce B. Downs

    Blue sky and bikes

    Baby turtle

    South loop rest area

    Very little shade

    Scenery

    Riding

    Slash Pines

    Biking

    Flatwoods Park Paved Loop


    Tampa, Florida
    Round and round on a wilderness racetrack-like 7-mile paved oval in a rural landscape in north Tampa
    Dana Farnsworth, Outdoor Travels

    Flatwoods Park is one of five parks making up the Wilderness Park system. The other parks include Trout Creek, Dead River, Morris Bridge and John B. Sargeant Memorial Park. Over 5,400 acres of mostly pine flatwoods and cypress swamps create a welcome relief from Tampa’s suburban sprawl. The main feature of Flatwoods Park would be its 9 miles of silky smooth paved multi-use trail. Seven miles create a loop, with the remaining two-miles being an extension connecting the main loop to Bruce B. Downs Blvd. As well as the paved trail there are other off-road trails through the park that connect to miles of other off-road trails in the Wilderness Park conglomerate (see our review). The paved loop is perfect for those wanting a good road ride, jog or walk without the hassles of dodging traffic. From family outings to race training, on any given weekend day, there will be all manner of trail users circling this wilderness race track.

    Much attention and detail has gone into the infrastructure of the park. The main facility is one half mile from the entrance and is equipped with parking, bathrooms, picnic tables, an air compressor and cold drink machines. Additional parking is available another seven tenths of a mile in, where the “official” trail begins. There are four rest stops along the route, (counter clockwise from the start) The Y, North Loop, Four Corners and South Loop that have shaded seating and cold water coolers – a very nice touch on a trail that has surprisingly little shade for its wooded surroundings. Since Flatwoods Park is also home to the Morris Bridge Wellfield, you’ll also spot a few pumping stations along the loop. At several of these stations there are picnic benches and grills.

    The attraction of the park doesn’t stop with a nice loop and good facilities - on any given ride at Flatwoods a rider can spot all sorts of critters. Armadillo, gopher tortoise, turtles, wading birds of all types, hawks, feral pigs, snakes, deer, frogs, alligator and even bobcat all call this 5,400 acre park home. On a recent ride, I was stunned to see a four-foot alligator sunning himself along side the trail! While, I’ve yet to spot a bobcat, almost every ride provides a unique animal viewing experience.

    For riders wanting to extend their ride on different tracks, Flatwoods is connect with bicycle routes on both Morris Bridge Road and Bruce B. Downs Blvd. for several miles.

     
    Sierra Trading Post