I’ve been training for a half-marathon and using it as an opportunity to find some of the longer nature trails around St. Pete.
Weedon Island Preserve
I miss the dirt trails I used to run on around Alachua County and Weedon Island is my replacement, unless I want to drive across the bridge to Hernando County.
It’s located close to the Gandy Causeway at the north end of St Pete. You can hike, fish, or kayak there. They even have a kayak rental near the boat ramp.
The main trail is 4.3 miles as marked below, made up of sandy trails and boardwalks through the mangroves. The lookout points are beautiful, and passing through the mangrove forest is a unique experience.
The day I ran here I added a little mileage by running to the boat ramp and including the trail on the far West side of the park along the way. Total of about 6.5 miles without too much backtracking.
The Skyway Trail
This may be the longest trail in the area, at 8.7 miles one way.
Starting at a park along 22nd S the trail runs along a stream and past a golf course before following Clam Bayou for a while. Then there’s a few miles of city trail before it runs alongside the highway heading to the Skyway Bridge. The views of the bay and the city along here are lovely.
The trail is paved the entire way, winding through marinas and past neighborhoods. Once you get to 275 the residential feel drops away, but you’re separated from nature by chain link fences on both sides of the trail.
North Bay Trail
Last but not least is the beloved trail along the downtown waterfront in St Pete known as the North Bay Trail.
Beginning where Central Ave meets the bay, the trail heads north along the water. You’ll pass Straub Park, Vinoy Park, North Shore Park, and Coffee Pot Bayou. After about 3 miles at the end of Coffee Pot Bayou the trail continues but becomes land locked. There is a total of over 11 miles, following 1st Street North.