Best Scenic Running Paths In The Tampa Area

May 8, 2012 1:10 PM

Whether you are looking for a casual morning jog or training for a cross-country marathon, the Tampa area offers a mixture of urban and rural scenery. Tampa trails range from well-maintained concrete right down to dirt paths that meander through natural wildlife habitats. Runners may start out underneath a busy overpass and end up in a quiet woodland where animals such as deer, raccoons and armadillos are likely to share the same trail. Try out Tampa’s best for free at the area’s most gorgeous parks.

Suncoast Trail
zoe ksc 2010 003 Best Scenic Running Paths In The Tampa AreaHillsborough County Parks, Recreation & Conservation Department
Channel Park Trailhead
9201 W. Water
Tampa, FL 33625
(813) 801-6729

Hours: sunrise to sunset

The Suncoast Trail is officially designated as part of Florida’s Statewide Greenways and Trails System. A large portion of the 41.3-mile trail is paved and runs adjacent to the Suncoast Highway. Although the road is out of sight, automobile sounds remind runners they’re not lost in the wilderness. This doesn’t take away from the scenery, and the further along the trail you go, the more local flora and fauna can be seen. Bicyclists are prolific here as well, but the trail is plenty big enough to accommodate both. To get to the trailhead at Lutz Lake Fern Road from Tampa, take Dale Mabry Highway (CR 597) north to Lutz Lake Fern Road. Take a left (heading west) and continue for roughly 3 miles until you pass under the Suncoast Parkway. The trailhead is on the right.

upper tampa bay trail head Best Scenic Running Paths In The Tampa Area

Upper Tampa Bay Trail
Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation & Conservation Department
Channel Park Trailhead
9201 West Water
Tampa, FL 33625
(813) 801-6729

Hours: sunrise to sunset

The paved Upper Tampa Bay Trail offers more of an urban feel with overpasses, underpasses and bridges. The current 7.25 miles make up the first three phases of a four-phase project. Eventually, the Upper Tampa Bay Trail will extend seven to eight more miles, connecting to the 41-mile Suncoast Trail. The trailhead is located off Memorial Highway/Montaque St.

Wilderness Park
14302 Morris Bridge Rd.
Thonotosassa, FL 33592
(813) 987-6211

Hours: sunrise to sunset

One of the more natural multi-use trails in the Tampa area, the 15-mile Wilderness Park trail system consists of cypress swamp, hardwood floodplain forest, upland hardwood hammocks, pine flatwoods, oak scrub, dry prairie, wet prairie and lakes. The trails pass through Trout Creek, Morris Bridge and Flatwoods areas. It is not uncommon to see many of Florida’s aquatic species, including alligators, turtles, snakes, wading birds and hawks.

Lake Rogers Park
9010 N. Mobley Rd.
Odessa, FL 33556
(813) 264-3917
Hours: sunrise to sunset

Although a relatively short trail at 2.5 miles, Lake Rogers Park offers a purely natural trail that circles around Lake Rogers. The hardpacked dirt trail provides a scenic route through shady forest with frequent views of the lake. Expect to see Florida in its most natural state while passing fellow nature lovers fishing, canoeing and picnicking in the park’s main facilities. Signs along the trail provide information about local plants and wildlife.

bayshore Best Scenic Running Paths In The Tampa Area

Bayshore Boulevard Linear Park
312 Bayshore Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33629

Hours: sunrise to sunset

Bayshore Boulevard makes up 4.5 miles of the world’s longest continuous sidewalk, which starts north at Columbus Statue Park and ends at Gandy Boulevard. Trail amenities include benches, a water fountain, bicycle parking, a city marina and fitness stations. This 10-foot wide trail is purely urban in scenery, and in addition to the spectacular views of the Bay area, is the location of the annual Gasparilla Pirate Fest and Parade.

best of tampa screen shot3 Best Scenic Running Paths In The Tampa Area Head to CBS Tampa’s Best Of pages for more local tips on family fun, shopping, nightlife, food, culture and more!