Loved this trail! Beautifully paved. Lots of wildlife. There isn't a ton of shade on the actual paved trail, but there were several entrances for hikes and mountain biking with tree coverage. Wish I lived closer. I'd hit this trail a few times a week for exercise!!
This trail is gorgeous, and offers a quiet escape from the city. Lots of wildlife to see, and if you stray from the main loop you can hike along the interior trails for a little more of a challenge. Just make sure to keep track of which direction you were headed on the loop so when you come back out you don't get turned around! We saw a rather large rattlesnake crossing the path at one point - be mindful of your surroundings, of course. We spent a nice day wandering around at a leisurely pace and logged about 11 miles. I wholeheartedly recommend this one for everyone!
Actually there is a trail through the woods that leads to a small creek like tributary. I walked it today. Follow the asphalt loop as it splits to the left ( you are coming from the ranger house at BBD entrance) Look for a bench on the right and trail starts here. Nice walk in the woods.
Flatwoods loop trail is a very well maintained, almost flat asphalt trail. It is about ten feet wide throughout. While we were riding on a Thursday afternoon, park staff came around the trail twice. Not sure whether they were maintenance or security, but the industrial size water coolers were filled with ice water when we refilled our bottles. There were only three cars in the parking lot when we started but the lot was full when we finished after 5:00. Seems a popular place.
My wife and I rode the loop twice averaging about 11-12 mph. Many riders out for serious workouts passed us, with more on the second loop. It's great for a workout and to train, but there is little shade early afternoon and very consistent wetland vegetation, so it's not great for that back to nature feeling. We probably won't take the half hour drive to go back, but if I wanted to do some serious training away from traffic, this would be one of my mainstays.
Flatwoods Park is my favorite place to ride my bike in all of the Tampa Bay area. It is basically just a large, paved loop.
Bring a couple dollars in cash, as the fee to park is $2.00. The parking lot is just a few feet away from the beginning of the trail. The paved area winds back around from there. You'll share the path with runners, walkers and cyclists, so be mindful of the traffic patterns. Serious cyclists like to keep a good pace going, so they will generally keep to the left. Sometimes they will call to you, "On your left!" to alert you that they are coming up behind you to pass on your left side. Be cool--share the trail and respect everyone's reasons for being there.
There are a few covered pavilions where you can take a break and refill your water bottle. There are areas for mountain bikers to head off the main path and experience some of the rougher terrain they crave. There are pretty wildflowers that dot the landscape. I've seen some wild boar back there, so heads up!
I love this place because it's a quiet, safe place to ride that is away from the traffic that plagues Tampa. I prefer to ride here only in the cooler months because being out on that black pavement during the summer can be brutal.
A+ for Flatwoods!