Cape Haze Pioneer Trail

Florida

22 Reviews

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Cape Haze Pioneer Trail Facts

States: Florida
Counties: Charlotte
Length: 7.8 miles
Trail end points: CR 771 in Cape Haze Pioneer Trail Park and Boca Grande Causeway
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6015491

Cape Haze Pioneer Trail Description

When you walk, run, skate or bike the nearly 8-mile Cape Haze Pioneer Trail, you're tracing the line that once serviced Florida's early phosphate industry and also moved people, livestock and locally grown crops, such as watermelons, to waiting steamships in Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island. The long-running Charlotte Harbor & Northern Railroad operated until the late 1970s. Today there are plans to extend the trail south to the Gulf and connect it with the Boca Grande Bike Path on Gasparilla Island, which shares the corridor. The resulting regional trail will span coastal Charlotte and Lee counties.

The fairly straight and flat rail-trail offers a relaxing ride and welcome relief from the area's growing traffic congestion. From its origins near Charlotte Beach, the trail has a rural feel, while multiple access points offer a break whenever you need one. Boasting ample parking, water and restrooms, the northern trailhead is named after longtime trail advocates Robert and Anne Mercer, credited with starting Charlotte County's thriving rail-trail movement.

As of January 1, 2013, the trail continues southward after crossing a short, dirt driveway used as a service area for the Coral Creek Golf Club. This newly paved section of the trail continues from the entrance to the golf club, parallel to CR 771, across the new bicycle-friendly Coral Creek bridge to end at the traffic light to the Boca Grande Causeway.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach theRobert and Anne Mercer Trailhead from Port Charlotte, take State Route 776 west to SR 771 south. The trailhead lies on the right about a block south of the intersection.

To reach the Rotonda Boulevard East trailhead, follow the above directions but continue south on SR 771 about 2 miles, then turn right on Rotonda. The trailhead is on the left.

To reach the R. David Johnson Trailhead, follow the directions to the Rotonda trailhead but continue south on SR 771 just more than 2 miles to Harness Road; turn right and continue to the trailhead.

Contact:
Charlotte County Parks & Recreation
4500 Harbor Blvd.
Port Charlotte, FL 33952
(941) 627-1628

Cape Haze Pioneer Trail Reviews

So many better trails than this

Have done all trails in West Fl. This trail is flat, has many evasive plants and has little to no cover. It’s a narrow trail and there are many better trails on west coast.

May 2020

Very nice trail but crossings need lights. Rode 22 miles all the way to the Gasparilla Causeway paid the $3 per bike and turned around. Its beautiful but Gasparilla is next on the list. I will bring the bikes to the Island and then we ride from there. Just waiting for the Bars to open so the watering hole is satisfied for both of Us. I should have parked closer to do both rides in one. Stay tuned for the second half.

Great biking trail for beginners like myself! Scenic, mostly flat, and even a couple bridges and beautiful water sights!

Great biking trail for beginners like myself! Scenic, mostly flat, and even a couple bridges and beautiful water sights!

Nice trail to ride

Did the entire trail today by bike. Nice flat trail with shady areas here and there. I saw a black rat snake and a pair of Bobwhite Quail. Many birds.

Accordion

good for running too

I ran about half of the trail for the first time last weekend. There were a few bikers and some walkers with dogs. Path is paved asphalt, pretty well maintained and wide enough so there’s no problem for all the different traffic. Path crosses several roads, but well marked and east crossings. Brush is cut well back from path minimum of 6-10 feet on each side. Very nice.

Pioneer is a Pleasure

I stumbled upon this trail in March as I was driving around wasting an afternoon while it was raining, and found that I was pleasantly surprised by it when I brought my bike back a few days later. The trail was extremely smooth, with easy crossings at the few streets that you encounter. There are several places to stop and rest if you need. Most of the trail is lined by trees, which helps knock down the wind and provides much needed shade from the hot Florida sun!

One of the things that I look for most in a trail is if I can use the ride as a good workout. The Cape Haze Pioneer Trail most certainly provides that!
There is plenty of parking at a trail head just south of SR 776-Gasparilla Road, that also has restroom facilities.

ride here often

Excellent trail well maintained interesting nature and good rest stop facilities

Cape Haze to Boca Grand

pros; beach access, access to fishing, nice scenes.
cons: Crossing over to Boca Grande on bike costs $3, is dangerous because of the narrow bike lane and many cars. Once on Boca Grande there is a golf cart rental so you have to dodge many carts and road crossings. The cape haze part is 7 miles

nice day ride

One of my go to trails. You can start at the North trailhead and go all the way to the end of Boca Grande. You will pay $3 per bike to get on the causeway but the water view is spectacular. Check out the Fishery restaurant in Placida for good food and drinks.

I liked it.

I liked it. Saw a snake, tortoise and lots of birds. It is nice and long so it was a great workout. There is a restroom and portajohns along the way. Nice and quiet. I will do this again as it is close to my house.

Flat, straight, quiet and unremarkable

We rode the entire trail and were the only people on it the entire way, which was nice. A few pros/cons:

Pro: The trail surface is wonderful, paved and easy to ride. There were benches along the way to rest and ample parking/facilities at the north end near the bunk house. Good signage throughout the trail tells you where you are. The trail crosses a beautiful creek area with mangroves and wildlife. The small bridge toward the end of the trail is bike-friendly. We did not see much wildlife besides a few snakes (non-venomous), but I can see how wildlife would abound on this trail.

Con: The trail is straight with few curves or sights to see. No points of interest along the way except for the trees/swamp (which was nice, but miles and miles of it). The bugs in the swamp were worse than anything I have ever experienced (and I live on the edge of the Great Dismal Swamp). Our backs were completely covered in bugs--big biting flies and mosquitoes! Fortunately, we brought bug spray with DEET. Also, the trail just ends abruptly at the end of a sidewalk--nothing to mark the ending, no bench or anything...just an end.

I have ridden many rail-trails, and this one was not my personal favorite. The length was good for us, not too long, just long enough to see the whole thing.

excellent way to spend a few hours

My wife and I are retirees, and we rode our recumbent trikes on the 15.6 miles round trip. We left with a picnic lunch at about 11:30AM on a beautiful mostly sunny day in the mid seventies with a light and variable breeze on a Thursday in Mid February. We rode down the length of the trail one way, and then back about half way to a picnic table, and had lunch. Saw a few people, but it was not crowded. Saw wildlife all around. Saw a turtle, several birds and deer. Excellent surface with few irregularities. Nice ride. I'll gladly ride it again next time I'm in the area. A very nice trail.

walking from car park

Amazing for the wildlife. Saw otters, crabs, fish jumping in the water, eagles nesting with young, wild boar ran across the trail, as well as all the birdlife. Someone also told us he had seen a rattle snake on the trail but it had gone by the time we got there. Really enjoyed the walk would highly recommend it.

A great ride especially as it has been resurfaced. Skirts a state park so wildlife to be seen. Goes all the way to the causeway linking to Boca Grande Bike Path.

A pity they want to charge $6 to take a bike across the toll bridge which is public. A bit of a cheek to charge the same for a bike as a car.

The old railway trestle bridge still stands and if the money could be found it could be quickly brought up to a good standard of repair and would then make a complete trail. It is still used a fishing pier. Given the tourism and holiday homes adjoining the trail in Arcadia and Rotonda it would attract more supporters for TrailLink

Nice ride

My wife and I and two friends did a leisurely ride on this trail and enjoyed it very much. We saw a lot of wildlife including a Gopher Turtle near Rotonda. Other riders and walkers were all very courteous. Will be doing it again very soon.

Cape Haze is awesome.....!!!

Picture perfect. Good length, flat and easy to ride. Wild life all over. Eagles raising their brood, a Bob Cat crossed our path, many Pelicans and fish jumping in the creek cross over. Beautiful spot to stop and take a break. A marina grill at the turn around if you wish or it is possible to extend down to Boca Grand and Gasspirilla Island. Again, chow down there too!

Right at the trail end there is a stretch of sand and gravel road, about a block long. Careful, you will be spoiled with the great black top trail riding and this bit of sand is treacherous, be careful. It will suck in skinny wheeled bikes.......

Great Ride

As of 2011, there is a bridge across Coral Creek, so trail is now 7mi long. You can cross the causeway ($3) and connect with the Boca Grande trail to extend the ride to 15mi total. The causeway is not currently bike friendly, but traffic moves slow. There are benches all along the trail, and there are restrooms and water at the north end.

Nice Trail

This is a very nice bicycle trail. Very well maintained, nice and easy to ride. Nice scenery. Not difficult so not for the hardcore bikers but very nice for us wanting a nice bicycle ride and enjoy being outdoors in Florida.

Should be called Cape Lay-ze

The previous comments were all accurate. I was also very disappointed that I can't bring my dog on this trail. There are signs everywhere prohibiting dogs, as well as signs stating that fines will be issued for violators. Sections of this trail are very isolated. Although I am male, I wouldn't feel comfortable using this trail if I were female and alone. If you are injured or attacked, there is no one to hear your screams. Keep that in mind before riding, and bring a cell phone along with your carry permit and a loaded gun.

Nothing special, but a pleasant short ride

Like most Florida rail-to-trail trails, this one is pretty much flat and straight. There are several road crossings along the way, but traffic on the crossroads is usually very light. You need to be careful when crossing, because the trail is basically invisible to passing motorists.

The trail ends at a small stream that leads into Placida Harbor - it's a pretty spot, but there's not so much as a park bench to sit down and enjoy the view. This may be due to the large number of flying insects near the water.

Disappointed

"I found this trail through this website. I was so excited to have a trail this close. I packed a lunch and jugs of water, loaded up my two dogs, and off we drove. 9 miles in a 8 cylinder F150. Not too far driving-wise; but eats some gas. Well worth it for the adventure that was in store. Got to the park. Parked. Started to get out, and THERE IT WAS! In large, big letters---NO DOGS ALLOWED! Not mentioned on this site. Drove all the way out their 18 mile round trip and such a disappointment. I don't understand why, either, dogs are not allowed. As a single women, I don't really like going out on wilderness trails (or isolated ones) by myself and feel better my canine friend accompanying me. Why is Charlotte County so darn anti-dog?"

Roller Blading on the trail

"We have been very please with the trail for roller blading, but were disappointed with the surface of phase II. It's fine for walking and biking but very rough for blading."

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