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One of Florida's most popular and unique urban pathways, the Pinellas Trail stretches from St. Petersburg north to Tarpon Springs, and on to the Pasco County line with the opening of a 5-mile section in July 2017.
Along the route, the nearly 50-mile rail-trail connects several county parks, coastal areas, and communities. Its multiple access points, mile markers, and parking areas make the trail—and the communities it connects—very popular destinations among cyclists.
For the first 15 miles from St. Petersburg, the trail crosses dozens of pedestrian bridges with sweeping views of the urban landscape. The most scenic of these is the 0.25-mile Cross Bayou Bridge, which spans Boca Ciega Bay.
Farther north lie the towns of Largo, Clearwater and Dunedin. In downtown Clearwater, the trail merges with wide sidewalks and a newly resurfaced bicycle boulevard. Use caution through here because the trail crosses roads with heavy traffic. Dunedin offers a particularly pleasant scene, with shops, restaurants, public restrooms, and parking. The Gulf of Mexico is just two blocks away, worth the brief detour for lovely coastal scenery.
In the quiet township of Palm Harbor pause on the Bayshore Boulevard pedestrian bridge at Mile Marker 29 for more Gulf scenery. From Tarpon Springs' quaint business district, the trail continues under US 19 to Keystone Road (CR 582) at Melon Street. From there, it follows Keystone Road east.
At E. Lake Road S., the trail splits. One branch turns south, paralleling E. Lake Road S. for 4.3 miles to John Chesnut Sr. Park, where there are nature trails and a lookout tower offering views over Lake Tarpon. The other forks east along Keystone Road, then turns north, ending at the Pasco County line.
Excitingly, the Pinellas Trail plays a role in two growing trail networks. One is the Pinellas County effort to create a 75-mile system of linked trails from Tarpon Springs to St. Petersburg called the Pinellas Trail Loop. The other is the Coast-To-Coast Connector Trail, a developing 250-mile route across Florida stretching from the Gulf of Mexico in Pinellas County to the Atlantic Ocean on the eastern side of the state.
The Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail is accessible from numerous places along its route. For a trail guide and detailed map of access points and parking, visit Guide to the Pinellas Trail online.
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