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