Some of the most challenging off-road bicycling trails in Florida can be found at Alafia River State Park. Located on what was once a phosphate mining site, the unique topography of the reclaimed land offers some of Florida's most radical elevation changes. Alafia State Park is home to 17 miles of bike trails, ranging from beginner to advanced. Alafia also offers equestrians and hikers the opportunity to explore mixed hardwood forests, pine flatwoods and rolling hills with 20 miles of hiking and horse trails. The abundance of wildlife found along Alafia's trails will delight any bird-watcher or nature enthusiast. The south prong of the Alafia River and lakes scattered throughout the park provide ample opportunities for canoeing and fishing. The 6,260 acre park also offers picnic pavilions, a playground, horseshoe pit and volleyball court. For overnight stays, the park has a full-facility campground for both primitive and RV camping, as well as equestrian friendly campsites.
Lovely park and being from the north, we enjoyed the wide open spaces, however; for HIKERS: only the easy river loop and the Red 1 mile hiking trail are marked. I suggest you bring lots of water and trail markers if you seek a more challenging hike. The marked trails are an easy hike, all of maybe 2-3 miles at most. There are many others some that are very difficult and a good workout but they are not marked, the 'exit' signs simply bring you out of that trail and into another. We are seasoned hikers and got lost in the woods for over an hour as your sense of direction becomes extremely distorted. Do not call the park Rangers for help, they are not there and you have to leave a message. When we finally found our way out, we came across a park Ranger on a small bulldozer and we asked why the trails are not better marked and get reply was 'they are marked the best we can', I replied well all the trails on this side are not marked at all to which her explanation was, no they are only marked at the beginning of the trail and the end, nothing in between. I find that unacceptable for a park we pay to use, a can a trail marker doesn't cost that much. I also inquired as to why she was not somehow connected to the phones or why no one answered them, even a central state park call center, her reply, no funding. So, while we will return as there are amazing, challenging trails and is close to home, we will be much smarter next time.