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Widely regarded as Tampa Bay's best urban trail, the Upper Tampa Bay Trail provides a scenic escape from its congested surroundings. The original section winds through suburban Citrus Park on an unused railroad corridor and extends along the west bank of the Channel A waterway, a drainage canal.
From the Peterson Park trailhead, the first mile leads through a rural landscape past grazing cattle, sheep and other livestock. At Ehrlich Road the scene waxes suburban, and interesting local eateries tempt you with their fare. Next, you're transported over busy Gunn Highway on a beautifully constructed pedestrian bridge, a good example of Florida's investment in its local trails.
The route then diverts from the original railroad corridor and takes a sharp right along the Channel A waterway, lined with native vegetation and beautiful cypress trees. You'll soon cross a lovely wooden bridge over peaceful Rocky Creek.
Continue following the west bank to the Waters Avenue trailhead, which offers plenty of parking, restroom facilities and an information center. This is a good spot to begin a trek or take a break. Beyond, the trail crosses Waters Avenue and parallels Memorial Highway to the westernmost trailhead.
On its southern end, there are plans to connect the Upper Tampa Bay Trail with the Town-n-Country Greenway.
On its northern end, a 4.3-mile extension takes the rail-trail to Keystone Park and Austin Davis Public Library in the community of Odessa and along the western edge of the Brooker Creek Headwaters Nature Preserve. From there, the paved trail follows Lutz Lake Fern Road to a connection with the scenic 42-mile Suncoast Trail.
To reach the Peterson Park trailhead from downtown Tampa, take Veterans Expressway north to Exit 10/Ehrlich Road, head west 1 mile and turn right on Gunn Highway. Drive 1 mile north on Gunn Highway and turn right on Peterson Road. The trailhead is in the park.
To reach the Memorial Highway trailhead, take Veterans Expressway north to Exit 4/Hillsborough Avenue West/Route 580. Drive west 5 miles and turn right on Countryway Boulevard. After 0.5 mile, turn right on Memorial Highway. The trailhead is on the left.
To reach the Lutz Lake Fern Road trailhead, head west on E Madison St toward N Marion St. Follow I-275 N and US 41 N to W Lutz Lake Fern Rd. The trailhead is on your left (7020 Lutz Lake Fern Rd). Aside from the 50 car lot, there are also restrooms and automated pay stations.
Over the years, I have run over 10,000 miles on this trail so I am pretty familiar with it. I am a marathon runner and do almost all of my training here. Every day brings something different in the way of wildlife to see, depending on time of the year, time of the day, weather and luck. You will very often see alligators, turtles, vultures, peacocks, and numerous other types of birds. I have also seen deer, armadillos, raccoons, snakes, hawks, osprey, bald eagles, fox and even a bobcat once. Occasionally you'll even hear a lion roar, as part of the trail runs parallel to the border of Big Cat Rescue. This trail is a treasure for residents and visitors alike. Unfortunately, in recent years there has been a push to develop more and more of the land surrounding the trail. But with the well-placed water stops and restrooms, it remains a great place for a run, a bike ride, or just a quiet walk through some of the beautiful terrain of Florida.
The Upper Tampa Bay trail is a 'go to' ride for many reasons. Multiple access points within parks, a 'no-cost' parking option at the Citrus Park Mall (1 block from trail), a nice bike shop along the route across from a Tiki Bar style restaurant that will quench your thirst as desired. The route has contour following a waterway, street flyover to let your shift gears and climb the small hill, and plenty of shade along the route for the warm Tampa days. A good mix of riders, walkers and runners can be found throughout the day. The trail is quiet and safe - highly recommended!
Great Trail. Very smooth asphalt path. 90% of the trail is in the sun. Farm animals visible from trail. It connects to the Suncoast Parkway Trail at Gunn Highway and Suncoast Toll Road. Address for parking lot is: 7020 Lutz Lake Fern Rd. The parking lot is practically right across from Seed World. Parking cost 2 dollars for all day, card or cash accepted. Full trail length is actually about 5 miles from one end to the other. Water is provided along the way but due to thirsty people be sure to bring water with you. I hope you enjoy yourselves!!! ¿¿
smooth ride all around. the little bridge hill was pretty good. nice place to bike
This is a nice trail addition outside of the hustle and bustle of St. Pete and Tampa, where you can ride/run/walk/rollerblade for miles of uninterrupted multi-use trail.
This video highlights the recent Phase IV trail improvement project that connects Upper Tampa Bay Trail to the popular Suncoast Parkway Trail.
This is a very beautiful trail with nice scenery and wonderful canopy trees over much of the trail.. About the only complaint would be the lack of direction signs.. we started at the south end near country way.. nice parking but started off the wrong way because we saw pictures of a bridge online, therefor we took off over the bridge.. wrong way, saw no direction sign.. also when you go about halfway it would be beneficial if there were a sign telling you to go left to continue on the 2nd half.. otherwise you dead end at linebaugh wondering where to go.. sure would be awesome if they would continue and connect to the next trail!!
nice trail just need to connect to a lutz fern road
I had walked this trial with my dog and I had biked the trail. Nice, nice trail!
Shady parts, sunny parts; you will find people there always. It is a long trail (at least by me) so bring water; put sunscreen and comfortable clothes.
This trail is awesome for longboarding. The hills allow you to go very fast and the smooth asphalt lowers fatigue in your legs and feet.
This is a nice trail for biking, running, or walking. It is partially shaded and goes around a retired landfill and through some less-developed areas despite mostly rolling through the suburbs. It loses a star for the city/county doing a lousy job of extending it and connecting it with other paths in the area.
There are a few spots with restrooms and water fountains but DEFINITELY bring 2 bottles with you if you're planning to ride during the summer. The parking lots require a $2 cash payment, so bring ones with you. Some of the roads the trail crosses have signage so you can always get yourself there without a vehicle to avoid the payment.
I've ride my bike on this trail for 2 years and it's by far my favorite in all of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.
We went searching for this trail and were not disappointed! The trail itself was very well maintained with a wide asphalt (smooth) path from end to end. This trail is only about 4.5 miles on this northern portion of the trail. We discovered that it is not yet connected to the longer southern portion of the trail. However....
We actually parked at one of the Suncoast trailheads (Hwy 54) and rode south to the end of UTBay at Van Dyke then back to Hwy 54. The round trip was right at 14 miles. We then continued north 4 miles on Suncoast and turned into Starkey Park at the well-marked intersection and rode 6.5 to the "day park" at Starkey. The return ride back to Hwy 54 trailhead was about 10.5 for a complete "seamless" ride right at 39 miles. It was a great ride with a lot of variety!
Was in town for business and brought my bicycle and left from the Hampton Inn on Tampa Rd in Oldsmar. Started this trail at Memorial and Pistol Range Rd. The trail conditions are beautiful and for a Valentine Sunday, not too crowded! I took the trail north noting the many Spurs for riders to enter in and out of the trail from different areas along the way. It can become a bit confusing so make sure to read the signs the first time on it. I followed this trail to its current end, just past Petereson Road. Once the trail turns north paralleling Montague St, it also parallels a canal for a mile or two. This section has few adult oaks so not much shade at this point. As you leave this section canopied oaks take over and you duck under a tunnel under I believe, Waters Ave. On the other side there is part of the trail that starts on the other side of Waters and combines with the existing trail. also benches and an open area for a picnic...trail continues over Sheldon and Linebaugh Ave and then intersects with a spur that will take you to Linebaugh Ave. stay left and parallel Veterans Expy. To Gunn Hwy/Citrus Pk Dr. at this point there is a pedestrian bridge over Gunn or the path will lead you to Gunn. You parallel Gunn until you get to Erlich Rd. In order to stay on the trail, you must turn left and use the crosswalk to get to the other side of this very busy road. Take a right and the trail will be on your left. The trail then heads into a much more quiet area paralleling Rails Road. Don't be surprised if you see horses in the area! You will cross over Peterson Rd and the trail ends (for now) about 100 yds further north. This ride is a bit longer than the section I rode a month earlier that connects to the Suncoast Trail ( 40 miles long, but parallels a major Expy which is loud!) which is along the That trail is about 6 miles and is quieter in certain sections. It end abruptly at Van Dyke and you can get a pizza around the corner if hungry! While I enjoyed this section, which I did first, at the time I did not realize how short it was and was somewhat disappointed. There is a parking area at Lutz Lake Fern Rd. and they charge $2 to leave your vehicle there. Again, once this trail is complete, it will be fantastic.
Rode this very well maintained trail today. It is all paved asphalt and passes along waterways and through wooded areas providing lots of afternoon shade. Very safe with trail passing under two major highway bridges and over one other. End to end, though, we measured it as 7.7 miles. We were shocked when we got to the north terminus.
The new Lutz Lake Fern trailhead and ~4.3 mile extension is OPEN! Those silly "barriers" have been removed. :)
Has anyone heard when the connection will be open ?
I pass the Lutz Lake Fern portion every day, it is still blocked off.
I cannot find any update , anyone here know ?
Rode the trail on Saturday 5/9 and the bridge over the creek was totally open. Looks like they are still doing lots of work under the bridge, so I don't know if they close it on weekdays or not.
This is a really great trail to ride on hotter days in the Tampa area as it has lots of shade, compared to other trails in the bay area.
Rode the trail on 4/10 and the bridge on the Petersen end of the trail is still out. There is a 200+/- yard hike-a-bike. Not very challenging at all. Other than that, awesome trail for being so close to the city.
Roomer has it (not officially confirmed) that they will try, as construction and safety permits, to open a narrow passing lane via the gates on either side of the bridge on weekends only when the construction crew is not present. No guarantee on this, but looks like thats what they are hoping to do.
*Cyclist safety note, that we may need to really slow down, and make sure to see a clear path to the other side before crossing to avoid oncoming opposite direction traffic. The opening will only be the size of the gate, and the visual obstacle of the gate on the other side to also navigate through. So, go slow on the bridge and take caution.
I rode the trail today and talked with the ranger. The ranger said the repair may be completed by the end of April. But there was no guarantee that will happen. This is sad because the repair has been going on for at least four months. Once completed it will be a great trail again. As for now, best to look for another trail to ride.
Rode the trail on March 13. Rocky Creek bridge remains under repair. Believe it has been under repair for over a month.
I ran the trail yesterday (3/1/15) and it does not look like they have made much progress yet on the bridge repair. It doesn't look like any work has been done on the structure supporting the bridge yet. Fingers crossed that they pick up speed.
Love the trail. So nice to have in a semi-urban environment.
Anyone hear an update on the bridge?
I love Upper Tampa Bay Trail. Its more than a just a perk, it has become part of what defines me. Since its opening, I have used this old friend's familiar path to lead me to success in running - such as the Gasparilla Marathon 2009 Grand Masters Title, and more. I pray the trail continues to grow and finally links that path to the Suncoast portion. The benefits often seem intangible, but they are many, and good for our communities!
I ride the trail three times a week starting from my house. The detour around the bridge adds approximately 2 to 3 miles. I do it using the bike lane but there is side walk except on Gardner Rd. Here is the detour.
Ride the trail to Linebaugh Ave, head west (right) up to Sheldon Rd and turn right, then take Gardner Rd, first right, Shell gas station on corner. This will take you back up to the trail on the other side.
Just got a callback from a park ranger today (2/3/15). Bottom line is that the repair started this week. Expected duration is 30 to 60 days. So end of March should be a safe assumption.
The ranger explained the detailed process. From planning (repair or replace), funding, getting bids and now initiation. Explains why the repair process appears to be so slow.
UTBT is a short, but varied scenic trail.
If it ever gets connected to the Suncoast trail to the north, it will be "World Class".
Wished I had checked here before I went. Excited about the short trail, and then to get about 3.5 miles to the "scenic" bridge to find it all boarded up and no way to go around it to continue !
Decided to try this trail on the way to a weekend on the "Fred". This was a very nice interesting trail. We had to load up and drive around to do both ends of the trail. The Bridge is just sitting there. No evidence of repair yet.
We will be back when the bridge is reopened.
We started out for a ride at the northern end of the trail today, and were disappointed to discover that the beautiful wooden bridge over peaceful Rocky Creek was closed, and according to a local, had been for about two months. This is a very short bridge, and hopefully will be repaired soon, as there is no obvious detour. Otherwise, the trail is in great shape!
This trail is one of my favorites. I noticed on my ride this morning they are resurfacing rough patches with new asphalt. This will make a great trail even better.
I had not been on this trail for several years, but finally got the chance to start again today. Whoever is in charge of this trail is to be highly commended. Not just for the consistently high level of maintenance, the rest stops, the tranquil scenery and water stations which are never empty. Now, the addition of a bridge across channel A at Old Memorial Highway and the underpass at Sheldon Road are fantastic complements to this trail. These construction projects are never without their vocal opponents, and I'm sure these must have had their detractors. I applaud the successful outcome - it is what keeps this one of the best trails you will ever find!
I had a great Roll today. It was the first time on the trail. Mile 2 has a little rough spot for rolling, but the rest was amazing. The scenery was so beautiful that my 10 miles flew by. Can't wait to do the whole trail round trip!!
My wife and I rode it this morning, round trip. Easy access with ample parking at the South (Old Memorial HWY) Trail Head. Much of the trail is shaded once you leave the southern portion along the canal, but that section is nice, too. I do recommend riding it South to North first, if you're doing the round trip, since the elevation increases South to North. Our return ride was much easier coming back down hill. We will definitely consider riding this trail again.
Easily accessed at either end or the middle, it's very convenient. Wide pavement and a nice elevation change from south to north pushes you a little. Even though most of the trail is in the open, there are long shady stretches that make it a nice ride during the warm months. The parking area at the south end is park like and has rest rooms and water, and there is water and facilities at the middle access point as well.
My opinion's a bit biased, here, because I used to work (volunteer) at this trail but, well, this is just a great trail to spend a day on!
Sure, it's not very long, you can ride it in under half-an-hour, but it's really a very beautiful ride! It goes through some lovely wooded areas. It meanders through and past and over a few pretty lakes and rivers with covered bridges.
If you've nothing to do, for a day, take your kids on a hike over the whole thing! I guarantee you'll be tuckered out by the end of the day! And you'll have seen some of SW Florida's most scenic, Natural wonders...
I always ride this trail. Spacious, clean, and beautiful. For 8 miles of paved trail, you feel like you are on a private trail.
Very nice trail, it is great for the beginners.
Started out on this trail at the northern trailhead at Peterson Park. This trail is a little difficult to follow southbound as you approach Ehrlich Rd; I wound up on a sidewalk riding against traffic on the N-S section of Gunn Highway. Nice stretch once you cross Gunn Highway, but be sure you bear right near the Wilsky road trailhead, or else you'll have to bicycle along Linebaugh Avenue for 3/4 of a mile or so to catch back up to the trail. Again, could be marked a little better.
The trailhead at Waters Avenue was a real treat, and the nicest one I have seen on any trail to date. Modern restroom facilities, kept very clean, nice ranger station, newer soda machines. If you're looking for a nice stop midway or so, this won't disappoint.
The ride the rest of the way to the Memorial (south) Trailhead was a nice ride along a canal with a good mixture of birds if you're into that sort of thing.
Going back to the north, the signage was more clear.
All in all, a solid destination if you're more into a stop-and-smell-the-roses kind of ride. Good for cardio, but not a great place if speed is your thing, as it's a suburban area and entire families with kids tend to populate the trail.
"Does anyone know what Hours the Upper Trail has starting March 12, 2007?"
On the right trail to completion
Sunday, April 16, 2006
The trail is a popular place for runners, skaters and bike riders.
Hillsborough County is getting close to connecting the Upper Tampa Bay Trail to the Suncoast Trail.
However, the only thing standing in the way is buying the necessary property to finish the job.
Kristen Lamura enjoys skating on the Upper Tampa Bay Trail to the dead end near Gunn Highway, but said she can't wait until the trail is finished.
""I think they should go for it,"" Lamura said. ""It's a great idea because I want to get a bike and I really want to just go and not have to stop and turn around.""
The county will finish the trail in three sections with the northernmost section to be built first. Ultimately, the Upper Tampa Bay Trail will connect to the Suncoast Trail at the north end of the county. However, the county is having some trouble acquiring all of the land it needs along Lutz-Lake Fern Road.
So, the county commission has approved the use of eminent domain to acquire the land if negotiations with property owners are not successful. Project manager Richard Sanders has been working on the trail since it was just an idea. He said eminent domain would be used only with property owners who fail to correspond with the county.
""It's not that we really want to go that route, but at least it gives us a time frame to get the negotiations going,"" Sanders said.
Sanders said the county needs to acquire the land before it can apply for federal funds for construction. He hopes to have the needed land bought by sometime next year with design and construction phases to follow.
Sanders said the county has about $2.5 million dedicated to acquiring the property needed to finish the construction of the Upper Tampa Bay Trail.
"June 5, 2004: Phase II of the UTB trail is now officially open for public use. The trail twists and turns for four miles along Rocky Creek and Channel A from Linebaugh Avenue to Memorial Highway. There are new trailheads at Memorial Highway and Waters Avenue. Full trailhead facilities at Waters Avenue include a Ranger station, rest rooms, meeting room, and parking for horse trailers. There are three underpasses and two crosswalks with countdown timers. There is also a separate path for equestrian users. "
"I TALKED TO A RANGER THAT SAID PHASE FOUR MAY TAKE 10 YEARS TO BE OPENED.PHASE FOUR WOULD START FROM PETERSON ROAD AND EXTEND TO LUTZ LAKE FERN ROAD AND TO THE SUNCOAST TRAIL.THE UPPER TAMPABAY TRAIL OWNS THE PROPERTY, BUT ITS A MATTER OF DECISIONS WITH THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE ON THE PROPERTY. "
"THE UPPER TAMPA BAY TRAIL IS EXTENDING .9 MILES FROM EHRLICH ROAD TO PETERSON ROAD. THERE IS A PARK CALLED PETERSON PARK WITH PARKING ON PETERSON ROAD. THE TRAIL IS PAVED.PHASE FOUR FROM PETERSON ROAD NORTHWARD TO LUTZ LAKE FERN ROAD IS COMING SOON.ONCE PHASE FOUR IS ESTABLISHED TO THE UPPER TAMPA BAY TRAIL, IT WILL CONNECT THE SUNCOAST PARKWAY TRAIL. THE SUNCOAST PARKWAY TRAIL EXTENDS FROM LUTZ LAKE FERN ROAD TO STATE ROAD 50 IN HERNANDO COUNTY. THERE IS A PROPOSED ROUTE THAT THE PINELLAS TRAIL WILL GO FROM TARPON SPRINGS AND HEAD EAST CONNECTING THE SUNCOAST TRAIL SOMEWHERE IN PASCO COUNTY. IF THAT IS DONE, YOU COULD GO FROM PASCO COUNTY NEAR ODESSA TO ST. PETERSBURG WHICH IS A EXCELLENT RIDE. "
"The UPPER TAMPA BAY TRAIL is a very fast trail. At this time the trail starts at WHILSKY ROAD and goes north to EHRLICH ROAD.Their is parking at WHILSKY ROAD and GUNN HWY(SR.587). The UPPER TAMPA BAY TRAIL follows the veterans freeway, and some woods. right now it is 3 miles long. Their are two more phases coming up.The trail will continue to pass linebaugh ave to SR. 580 or more known as TAMPA ROAD and HILLSBOROUGH AVENUE. They are going to built a YMCA ajacent with the trail on SHELDON ROAD. The second phase will extend northward pass EHRLICH ROAD.A extra 10 miles will be added and interconnect with the SUNCOAT TRAIL.Their are water fountains and benches throughout the trail as well. This trail is very fun and good for the family.Trail opens at sunrise and closes at sunset.
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