Pensacola Beach Trail


5 Reviews

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Pensacola Beach Trail Facts

States: Florida
Counties: Escambia
Length: 9.1 miles
Trail end points: Fort Pickens Entrance and Big Sabine
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 9280568

Pensacola Beach Trail Description

This is a multi-use trail that runs along Via de Luna Drive and Fort Pickens Road in Pensacola Beach, Florida. It mostly runs along the two roads but does offer some great ocean views along the way - never straying more than about 100 yards from the Gulf-front and most of the time is closer than that.

The area between the Santa Rosa Island Authority Maintenance office and Red Fish Blue Fish along Via de Luna Dr is not a marked wide trail but is only about 300 yards and there are sidewalks that can be utilized for walkers/runners or the road (for bikers).

Additionally, the trail continues to the bridge along Pensacola Beach Blvd towards Gulf Breeze from the intersection of Via de Luna Dr and Fort Pickens Rd. The bridge is bicycle and pedestrian friendly but there's not much once you get past the bridge area in Gulf Breeze for biking. Walking/running is supported via standard sidewalks beyond that area.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking can be found:

  • At the corner of Via De Luna and Fort Pickens Rd
  • At the western end of the trail at the Park West area
  •  Approximately .75 miles from the eastern end of the trail at the public beach parking lots

Pensacola Beach Trail Reviews

Great ride

Sure it’s a bit busy and “townie” in the middle but it’s a charming, well maintained and absolutely beautiful ride. The sand dunes and birds with the ocean sounds in the background. We thoroughly enjoyed this trail.

Great for walkers; not so much for bicyclists

Five stars? Really? Okay, for the walkers and joggers in town, I can see five stars. For us folks on bikes, not so much,

On an absolutely perfect spring morning in late March, we started from the west trailhead where we were greeted by pristine white sand and a beautiful great blue heron. After that, for the next seven full miles, it was all downhill (figuratively, not literally). The first seven miles is essentially a poorly maintained asphalt sidewalk which crosses a multitude of hotel, restaurant, resort, and rental property driveways. In addition, there are an extreme amount of streets to cross. Again, fine and dandy for the huge numbers of pedestrians on Spring Break on the Redneck Riviera, not so great as you pedal along on high alert for two tons of steel possibly veering your way.

The Fort Pickens Road parking lot at the western trailhead has restrooms and beach access to the amazing white sand and rolling breakers, but once on the official Pensacola Beach Trail through town there's very little to see but hotels and businesses. After a few miles you reach the Highway 399 portion the trail parallels, but once you finally leave the business district it's then miles of homes and still no gulf views.

Finally, after passing the Portofino Resort, no more driveways or cross streets, nothing but white sand dunes on both sides of the trail with views of Santa Rosa Sound and occasional glimpses of the gulf. Unfortunately, the trail quality doesn't get any better for us bike riders, but at least your head doesn't have to be on a swivel to avoid being run over.

The payoff is reaching the eastern terminus of the trail. Be sure to cross the highway and soak in the natural beauty and tranquility. The beach was pretty much deserted since there are no homes, resorts, or parking lots at that spot. We had the beach all to ourselves! It was just us, the immaculate white sand, gentle waves, and yet another great blue heron!

For bicyclists, seven-ninths of the trail in my opinion is below average; two-ninths of it is pretty cool!
For walkers and people getting around town, 100% great.

SOME FOOD FOR THOUGHT: On the way back to town, we turned onto Avenida 22 toward Santa Rosa Sound to avoid the hustle and bustle of Highway 399. We enjoyed marvelous views of the sound and amazing homes on quiet residential streets for a mile or two before being forced back onto the trail and the commotion along Highway 399.

very beautiful ride with visible bike path “most” of the way.

If you park near the “Pensacola Beach Ball Tower” and start your ride from there all the way through Fort Dickens it comes to about 20 miles. Beautiful ride with a safe bike lane most of the way. The old fort is not much to look at, but it is still a great ride. It is costly to go into the park via bicycle. I think it was $15 unless your military like me and then it is free.

Enjoyable ride!

Loved the Gulf Islands National Seashore Park section. Stopped along the route to walk the beach and Fort Pickens. Enjoyable afternoon


One of my favorite rides

The Pensacola Beach Trail is part of my favorite Florida rides. What really makes this ride special is the additional mileage you can do on both ends of the trail. If you start at the eastern most point and continue east, you are on wide bike lanes which are extensions to the road. This takes you through Gulf Islands National Seashore park. All you see on both sides is sand and water. Since Santa Rosa island is about 2 miles off the Florida mainland, you have the sound to your left and the Gulf of Mexico on your right. This is totally undeveloped. You can take this all the way into Navarre Beach. The road speed limit is only 35 MPH so passing cars don't speed by you. It is also a low traffic road so most of the time you are by yourself. The park has some facilities but you must pay to use them.

If you follow the trail west, you will end just outside Fort Pickens which is also part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore park system. You must pay to enter the park, but the ride to the Fort is again beautiful and has little traffic. This Civil War fort is the only one (from the original 3) that still survives. It was the only fort in this area that the Confederates did not overrun. It was also a temporary holding ground from Geronimo after he was captured. There are rest room here and a convenience store right outside the campgrounds. Be sure to watch the movie about the fort. It will give you a lot of background to the area. If you are lucky you will see the Blue Angels practice because you right next to the Naval Air Base.

If you include the two side trips, the total round trip ride is around 55 miles. Quite pleasant and FLAT!!! However, being next to the water, you will always be dealing with wind. Wear LOTS of sun blocker because there is NO SHADE.

Highly recommended!!!

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