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Length: 35 Miles in System
Trailhead(s): Alafia River State Park
Elevation Gain: Negligible, Short Climbs and Descents
Trail Type: Trail System
Dogs: Not Allowed
Permit Required? No
Considerations: $5 per Vehicle Entry Fee
Season: Year Round
Think there is no mountain biking in Florida? The Alafia River State Park mountain bike trails will definitely prove you wrong. The trail system at Alafia is amazing. There are trails for every type of mountain biker from beginner to expert. If you ride at Alafia River State Park, I guarantee you that you will make a point of riding it on every trip to Florida. I can tell you this because I rode this system numerous times each month for 10 years while I lived in Tampa. As a friend from Vermont said after I took him here: “This is the most fun I have ever had on a bike!”
The Alafia River State Park mountain bike trails system was built by the SWAMP mountain bike club in an old phosphate mining area that was donated to the State of Florida by the mining company. The trails are built around a central hub, making it easy to hit as many in the system as your legs will allow. Trail difficulties range from beginner to double black diamond – heck, there is even a double black diamond within a double black diamond. The riding varies from flat, twisty meandering trails to trails with short steep climbs and descents to full on jump gaps. All of it makes for a fantastic day of riding.
Alafia has three main beginner trails, marked as “greens”. All are flat, but have good flow. They wind through the jungly Florida foliage with lots of twists and turns. The Sand Pine trail is more sandy than Hidden River and Rock Garden, but all ride well and are perfect for new riders.
The intermediate trails at Alafia are marked as “blues”. For the most part, they would probably be considered high level beginner trails in many parts of the country, but don’t let that deter you from riding them. They are very well built, have excellent flow, and are a ton of fun to ride. Most of them also have expert options you can take. For advanced riders the options are a blast and, when combined with the blue main trail, make riding these intermediate trails a ton of fun.
The expert trails at Alafia are marked as “blacks” with either one or two black diamonds. For comparison, the single black diamond trails would be considered high intermediates in many parts of the country. That said, they are skills oriented and do require advanced riding skills. They are also incredibly fun to ride with ridges, tight switchbacks, wood berms and ramps, and some chunk. For the most part they are accessed through the intermediate trails.
The double black diamond trails at Alafia are true expert trails. They are packed with short punchy climbs, steep descents, tight switchbacks, rock and wood features, and some pretty good gnar. Unless you have expert riding skills, it is best to skip these. If you have the skills, however, they are amazingly fun and will really test your ability to clean a trail.
As a word of caution, be aware that Gravitron (a double black diamond), which is accessed through Moonscape (also a double black diamond), is no joke. The trail is only for the most advanced riders and is a series of jump gaps combined with tough climbs and tight, technical features. Unless you are sure of your skills, it is best to avoid this trail. Nothing like a hospital trip to ruin a fun day of riding.
The Alafia River State Park mountain bike trails definitively prove Florida has some excellent mountain biking. Despite all the places I have ridden in the U.S. and Canada, Alafia has a special kind of fun that can’t be beat. If you get the opportunity to ride here, don’t miss it. You will not be disappointed!
Scroll down to learn about the GEAR WE USE and OTHER OUTVENTURES in this area.
- Trailforks Interactive Trail Map Link:
- Alafia River State Park Printable Map:
- Alafia Mountain Bike Trails Information:
- Alafia River State Park Website:
- SWAMP Mountain Bike Club Information about Alafia Mountain Bike Trails:
Alafia Mountain Biking Trails Slideshow
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