Honeymoon Island Causeway Trail (FL)
25.4 miles (both trails)* (Asphalt)
Rating: 7 (out of 10)
124 Road/Driveway Crossings (1-way)
281 People Encountered (Both Ways)
Pros: First noticeable difference compared to all the other trails I've ridden is the Pinellas Trail was physically divided into a 5-6 foot wide sidewalk for walkers and a 10 foot wide lane for bicyclists and skaters. At intersections the two trails would combine typically into a single 14 foot wide trail. Bike shops were available along the trail with some offering rentals. There were no six inch curbs to deal with. Road crossings were smooth. No dog chases. Despite the look of the profile, the trail was pretty flat except for a ramped 5-6 percent grade to an elevated road crossing. Elevation changed no more than 20-25 feet on a couple of hills. Food and drink and lodging available near the trail. There wasn't any litter to be seen which was hard to believe in such a populated area. Road crossings were very well marked. The trail had stickers with emergency info every tenth of a mile. There were a few parks with picnic tables and restroom facilities along the trail. Trail was well mowed and maintained.
Cons: There were a significant number of driveway and road crossings and busy trail usage. Only one crossing at Causeway Blvd was problematic as it required a long wait. At each intersection were car barrier posts to dodge. There was a little bit of root damage to the asphalt but what few bumps there were are painted to help the rider see them. Trail had a speed limit of 20 mph. Was a noisy ride on the north of Lake Tarpon and down toward East Lake as the trail parallels two very busy highways - Keystone Road and East Lake Road. Crossing the Causeway to Honeymoon Beach Park required dealing with a couple narrow crossings where riders and walkers shared a four foot wide lane with pipe sides. Both the Pinellas and Causeway trails probably get real busy in the summertime. There were a couple of places along the trail, particularly around the tunnel under US 19, through a hood in Tarpon Springs and in downtown Clearwater where I did not feel safe. The slums, the intersections, and the busy level of usage is why I rate this a low 7 (out of 10).
Viewpoint: In a nutshell, Yes, I would ride this upper portion of the Pinellas Trail again despite its many intersections and heavy usage. It is a very scenic trail along heavily populated coastal communities which offers much more to experience than I had time for. It is amazing that one can ride 40 miles one way through many busy communities from East Lake, through Tarpon Springs all the way to downtown St. Petersburg on a car free paved trail. Nice. Trails may be very busy in summertime and worse on weekends compared to weekdays. Plan accordingly.
*Note: TrailsLink lists the Pinellas trail as 42.5 miles long. I only rode the north 22.7 miles of it starting at Wall Springs Park. The 2.7 mile Causeway Trail which intersects the Pinellas Trail is not listed as a rails-to-trails. It is a scenic trail worth riding though which is why I'm including it here.
The downloadable GPS track of the Upper Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail (FL) and Honeymoon Island Causeway Trail (FL) can be found here:
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