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Trail-goers can park and pick up the path anywhere along Scenic Highway 30-A from Dune Allen to Inlet Beach.
If you're training for the Tour d'Anything, this isn't the trail for you. If you want to park your car in one of the towns and use the bikes to Gary around, they're great.
We ride "hybrid" bikes (something in between road bikes and mountain bikes). We found them pretty ideal for this trail.
We parked at Seaside and rode east to Camp Helen State Park. The park itself isn't a bad ride.
Another day, we went west to Grayton Beach. We ran into trail construction there, but we rode south to the beach, and around town. We later found that we probably could have re-entered the trail on the west side of town, and continued westward. The construction looked almost complete, so it is likely to be a non-issue soon after this review is posted.
The trail is ideal for exploring the towns, and goes close to lots of shops and restaurants.
There were a few other trails heading north toward hwy 98 that were in the final stages of construction. These were interesting, and we may explore them next year.
Two days after riding from Rosemary Beach to Seacrest and back (see "Not Close To Its Potential"), we returned and rode the section from Watercolor to Grayson Highlands State Park and back. This section has been significantly improved. Although still too narrow and unlined, the asphalt is smooth and adequately separated from the roadway, with new bridges. Someone needs to pay for similar improvements from Watercolor east. If they do, this would be a 4 or 5 star ride.
We rode 8 miles of this "trail", from the unmarked east end in Rosemary Beach to Seaside Beach, and back. This "trail", for most of the distance we rode, is just a very narrow glorified sidewalk, ill-maintained and in places downright dangerous. Parts of the "trail" are simply road shoulders, with no more than a few feet of separation from opposite direction vehicle traffic. That some vehicles have in the past entered the "trail" was evident from the bent-over rubber posts supposedly delineating the edge of the "trail" / road.
We passed at least a dozen bicycle rental outlets, each with hundreds of bikes. We were told that during peak vacation periods most of those bikes would be out on the "trail", with many very young and at times unsteady riders capable of veering into oncoming bicycle or vehicular traffic. While it was not busy during our ride, we saw no one else wearing helmets.
Between the bicycle concessionaires, the owners of the very valuable adjoining properties, the restaurants and other business profiting from trail users, the municipalities through which 30A passes and the county road commission, sufficient funds should available to (1) widen the trail to a minimum of 10', (2) repave the entire trail, (3) add appropriate paint markings and a center division line, and (4) install guardrails between the highway and the trail where the trail cannot be moved away from the road.
Given its premium location, this "trail" has the potential for perfection. At present, it isn't even close.
I rode this trail the entire length. It is not a bicycle trail for serious bike riders. While it wanders through some beautiful terrain, it is compromised by many driveways and road crossings not to mention the multitude of pedestrians. In Rosemary Beach area it is a concrete sidewalk about 4 feet wide. In many places the trail is very rough with pots and bumps due to the many cuts and patches.
If you are into a slow touring ride you will be OK.
I was greatly disappointed in this trail. An 18-mile, paved trail sounds so wonderful, but the reality was a different story. It has so much potential, it is a shame that it wasn't better designed and isn't better maintained. Mountain bikers, walkers and joggers might find this trail ok, but there is a reason all the road-bikes were on the road and not on the trail, and someone on inline skates would not be able to use most of the parts of the trail we experienced (the 6.5 miles on the southeast section).
Having read the reviews of how busy and crowded this trail tends to be, we set out early on Christmas morning to enjoy this trail. We started at the southeast end of the trail, planning to ride our Trikkes at least 10 miles before turning around. The trail was so poor, we gave up in frustration at 6.5 miles, and Trikked back to the car. Perhaps further on the trail we would have encountered better conditions, but we were too tired of trying to navigate bad conditions to find out.
The trail is amazingly inconsistent. Some areas are narrow sidewalks, others are wider asphalt. A few sections are smooth, but too many sections are bumpy, with cracked asphalt that is heaving.
Much of the trail is below the level of the road, with little-to-no vegetation to stop the runoff of sand, dirt, rocks and debris, across the trail. Some sections are actually the shoulder of the road, with only flexible plastic pipes, sticking up perpendicular from the road, to divide the trail from the roadway, with cars and trucks flying by.
At various points, the property owners are watering the trail with their underground sprinkler system, creating puddles as deep as 2 inches. The design of the trails did not provide for drainage.
The one real plus is that in the morning, most of the trail is shaded, which would be wonderful on hot summer mornings.
The area near Alys Beach was beautiful. While I understand the money isn't available to have all 18 miles that nice, there is a lot that could be done with this trail to make it more enjoyable.
Today we drove up to Port St. Joe's to ride the Loggerhead Run Bike Path. This trail is not fancy, but it is more consistent, well designed for drainage and sand control, and a delight to ride, albeit with little shade. Those who designed and maintain the Timpoochee Trail could take some lessons from them. I only wish we had booked our accommodations near Port St. Joe's- but now we know for our next trip to the region.
First, before I give the negative about this ride, let me state I am very grateful that we have trails like this one in the United States where we don't have to risk getting run over by a car. This trail is very bumpy. If you have 38 or larger tires, then air them down for comfort. If you are a roadie with 23 or 25mm tires, I think you may not be happy about this ride. If you want to go fast, it may be a problem as the trail can be very crowded at times and the people walking or riding seem to be inconsiderate about sharing the trail. Many times I had to come to a complete stop because no matter what bell I rang or what words I said had no affect, the people made no attempt to clear a path for us to get through. The beaches were right next to us, but you cannot see them for all the buildings. Not a scenic ride as you would expect. But I did get to burn a lot of calories. There are stops along the way for food, drinks, etc. Just chill on this ride and you can enjoy it. I would ride it again if I visit this area in the future.
Spent the week riding on the Timpoochee Trail/30A Trail and loved it. Recommend that you get out early to avoid the traffic. It is a multi-use trail (bike and peds) so please be aware of this when riding on the trail. Trail is perfect for a fixie, mtn bike or a cruiser. Not recommend for a road bike. Did like that there are many stops for a water bottle refill or a bite to eat. Highly recommend checking out the food trucks in Seaside just below Watercolor. There are also some trails in the Watercolor/Seaside beach area that are a nice way to see the development. All in all enjoy my rides on the trail and recommend it.
I did about 18 miles of this trail on a Thursday. It is the most crowded trail I've ever seen. People walking, running, families with strollers, groups of people walking slowly drinking coffee, eating ice cream and oblivious to the fact that it is a bike trail. The trail itself is rough in spots and poorly maintained.maintained
A nice trail on a sunny mid-week day but super busy on a lovely day. Easy to ride along; gentle inclines and wide paths. Lots of places to stop and admire the view and quaint little places to rest or get refreshments. My new favourite place is Rosemary Beach. A delightful place!
As long as you don't start this trail expecting untamed wilderness, then you should enjoy it. It meanders through multiple small beachfront communities with a number of views to the Gulf of Mexico and the unique coastal dune lakes. This is a tourist area so there WILL be novice bicyclists and pedestrian traffic, but not enough to significantly detract from the experience. The (asphalt) trail does cross a number of (concrete) driveways so it can get rough at the transition between surfaces, but I have ridden this trail with my dad on his Trek road bike and he didn't have any problems. Very enjoyable with ample opportunities for water, food, or other items you may need.
My adult daughter and I live fairly near here but had never tackled this "official" trail, until last week. We parked near the western end and went 15 miles where we decided that 30 miles roundtrip for the day was enough. Had we realized how close to the western end we were we probably would've gone all the way. Even though it's the off-season there was a bit of activity near the Rosemary Beach and Seaside areas, but not bad. Most of the trail was relatively quiet even for a sunny Saturday afternoon. We even stopped several times to watch deer crossing the trail near one of the state parks on the trail. We stopped a few other times to take some photos of the wildlife near several of the lakes that you will bridge across. Some of these lakes are ecologically very unique but I won't bore you with details here.
The surface varied some but never very bad, always better than riding along most road shoulders. We did have about 5 feet of soft sand but we zipped on through it, most was asphalt with some concrete. It does cross over Highway 30A a few times but traffic was light (and slow). For a state as flat as people think of Florida it does have some rolling hills at times, although elevation change is still never more than 15-20' I would think.
There are plenty of bike shops along the route but most appear to be more of beach cruiser rental shops for the tourists. We did see one "real" shop but had no real reason to stop.
You also will have plenty of chances for food or cold brews along the way, but be prepared that it is a tourist location. Two hot dogs and locally-brewed bottle beers set us back $28 from a walk-up window. The location was about 5' off the bike path so it was certainly convenient. It was near the end of our ride so the break was worth it.
Convenient, safe, (mostly) smooth and gets you off an extremely busy roadway! I feel many of the reviews here are unfairly harsh. What are you expecting? This is not a trail through a national forest or seaside preserve. But it is a nice trail that allows you to traverse the area in safety. We rode about 10 miles both east and west of Seaside and found it very enjoyable. Lots of places to stop and eat, get coffee or drinks and there are actually some sections that are quite scenic. I would probably say 4 stars, but wanted to go to 5 to counter some of the very negative reviews that I felt were inaccurate.
The trail has become very rough in recent years because of heavy construction tearing up the pavement and not repairing it properly.Also ,it a sidewalk since there are no sidewalks along 30A.They just paved the road which was fine but should have paved the bike trail instead.
We stayed at Grayton Beach at a Bed and Breakfast and rode. While it is not a ride I would return to do because there were too many people on the trail that were first time bike riders it was a nice day. Not sure it should be on the rails to trails network it is more sidewalk type of riding,several times we got onto the rode because we felt better than riding on the pavement that was called the trail.
Nothing scene about 30A unless you like looking at buildings. Some spots do have a very rare glimpse of what was one time very scene ride. Trail is terrible for road bikes and has heavy wander/walking traffic.
This is a pleasant trail that travels through a bustling vacation area. It runs along side Walton County Highway 30A and there are many restaurants, shops and parking areas. We parked at the day use lot of Topsail Hill Preserve State Park ($6) and traveled the western half of the trail today. It is reasonably flat (just a few small hills) and easy to navigate. There are a number of places where the trail crosses the road; these are well marked and drivers all were courteous. There were many other walkers and bike riders using the trail but not so many as to make the ride difficult.
Took our own bikes for a week stay in Santa Rosa, found the trail useful as a transportation alternative up and down the 30A scene. Biked to publix, to beach, boardwalk, dinner, and just to ride. Grayton Beach has bike racks when you get there and need to park the bike.
Loved the parallel streets in seaside off the main drag for exploring.
On October 15, 2013, we rode from the west end to Seaside. We rode from Seaside to the east terminus the following day. The trail was a bit more challenging than expected but not bad. In general the pavement was in good shape. A couple of places were sand-covered, a bit treacherous.
Although there was a fair amount of cross-traffic, all were extremely curtious. It seemed that the grade was slightly rising as we rode east so the returns were a bit easier. We really enjoyed Seaside. Parking was no problem in mid-October. There was a beautiful entrance to the beach. Numerous restaurants also provided easy rest-room accwss.
This trail has beautiful scenery and wanders through rural and suburban areas, where there are lots of places to stop and rest, have a snack, or a full meal. There are lots of intersections and driveways. So you need to be vigilant, even during the off-season, which is when I rode it. It is only about 5 ft. wide and in some regions there are lots of curves, some of them tight. The beginning and end points are not well marked and there was no public parking available there. It could use some regular maintenance.
OVERVIEW I have ridden this trail numerous times. The best parts of the trail are the non-populated areas in-between the various communities that makeup the South Walton beaches on 30-A. . THE TRAIL The trail itself runs next to highway 30-A and alternates back and forth from the north and south sides of 30-A. The crossovers are well marked and have lighted signals to inform motorists of pedestrians crossing 30-A. The surface is in good shape, but can get a bit rough in patches. There are a few small wooden bridges/overpasses with a couple that have lookout areas built-in to them. It is a fairly flat ride, but watch out for head winds. The views along the trail are great. TRAFFIC Since the South Walton beaches are a popular vacation spot, both vehicle and foot traffic are present in the area. In the various 30-A communities, walking traffic is very heavy as pedestrians use the trail travelling to the various beaches and shops. Plan on coming to an almost complete stop in the Seaside, Watercolor, and Santa Rosa communities. Unfortunately, "on-your-left" will get no movement or response from 95% of the walkers. The vehicle traffic gets congested in areas and is very careless. In the community sections of the trail, traffic enters/exits 30-A by crossing the trail. The most dangerous being vehicles entering 30-A. Although there is signage, they simply do not look for bicycles and will run-through or block the trail path waiting to go onto 30-A. There have been numerous car/bicycle accidents reported on the trail. RATING The views on the trail are really great - 4 stars. Take time to explore the various areas of off the trail as well, such as Grayton beach (Defuniak St.). The trail surface - 3 stars. The dangerous traffic - 2 stars. Be safe!
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