Paralleling the Suncoast Parkway for 41.3 miles between Lutz in northern Hillsborough County to US 98 in northern Hernando County, the Suncoast Trail was built at the same time as the highway as part of the master transportation plan for the region.
It shares many of the same highway bridges as it stays right next to the southbound lanes of the highway. While it provides a lengthy ride, most of your trip is within sight and sound of the parkway.
Location: Lutz to Brooksville
Length: 41.3 miles
Land Manager: Florida’s Turnpike / Office of Greenways & Trails
Starting north from Lutz Lake Fern Rd, the trail passes new subdivisons built between the cypress domes of the boggy floodplain of the Anclote River. A screen of trees sometimes separates the trail from residential areas, but the sound of traffic on the Suncoast Parkway is a constant companion.
The SR 54 trailhead tends to stay busy given the growing population of the area. Across SR 54 from the trailhead you’ll find several restaurants, a convenience store, and a Starbucks.
It’s a pleasure to pedal through the mosaic of public lands that connect with Starkey Wilderness Park, with open prairies, mature pine flatwoods, and cypress strands to savor. Benches are provided occasionally for rest stops.
When you reach the paved connector that heads west through Starkey Wilderness Park, this is where the Florida Coast to Coast Trail route joins in. The park has eight cabins and 16 tent sites in its campground, which is where the 7.3 mile paved connector leads. Cabins cost $50 and have no bedding or bathrooms; they share a bathhouse. Tent sites are $15. Call 727-834-3247 or book online.
For the next 23 miles, the Suncoast Trail and the Coast to Coast Trail are the same route. North of Starkey Wilderness Park, you cross SR 52. To reach the designated trailhead parking area at Concourse Nature Center, you must follow the side path heading west along SR 52 on the north side of the road.
Similarly, use the side path on the north side of the Shady Hills Rd crossing to head east to Crews Lake Wilderness Park. Crews Lake is just a mile from the trail. This Pasco County Park is nicely canopied, with picnic grounds, hiking trails, and a campground. It has 10 primitive tent camping sites that can be booked for $10/night. Call 727-861-3038 or book online.
North of Crews Lake, the trail traverses a cross-section of housing communities, farms, and woodlands, but is pretty much all out in the open. While there is no side path, just a bike lane, at County Line Road, it’s a half mile west to a 7 Eleven and Publix shopping center.
The next major stop is Anderson Snow Regional Park. It’s a large sports complex in Spring Hill, less than a quarter mile off the Suncoast Trail and is another official trailhead. You’ll find restrooms and drinking water here.
After the underpass at Spring Hill Drive, a side path leads a half mile west to another Publix shopping center and 7 Eleven. Here, the trail is along residential communities. You must cross busy Powell Rd at a traffic light. A small trailhead on the south side of the road has room for a few cars.
Just north of the SR 50 Trailhead – which has restrooms and potable water and its off Grove Rd south of SR 50 – the trail goes up and over SR 50 on a bridge. If you want to get to services along SR 50, you’ll need to take Grove Rd out to the SR 50 bike path. Go west to get to convenience stores, hotels, and restaurants.
You’ll find substantial services – restaurants, grocers, and hotels – east and west of the trailhead at SR 50, and a bike path paralleling the eastbound lanes of that highway for a stretch. SR 50 is a very busy highway. The connector between the Suncoast Trail and the Good Neighbor Trail in downtown Brooksville has not been fully established yet.
The final 11.8 miles north of SR 50 is where the Suncoast Trail shines. You are no longer right next to the highway all the time, and when you are, that paralleling traffic is lighter.
Riders will notice a substantial amount of elevation changes as you get into the rolling hills that Brooksville is known for. After 41.3 miles, trail’s end is where the Suncoast Parkway ends as it meets US 98 between Brooksville and Chassahowitzka.
|0.0||Lutz Lake Fern Rd trailhead||LUTZ|
|2.5||SR 54 trailhead||ODESSA|
|6.7||Starkey Wilderness Park connector||NEW PORT RICHEY|
|12.4||SR 52 Concourse Nature Center||SHADY HILLS|
|15.3||Connector to Crews Lake Wilderness Park||SPRING HILL|
|16.4||Caldwell Lane access||SPRING HILL|
|21.6||County Line Road crossing||SPRING HILL|
|23.1||Anderson Snow Regional Park||SPRING HILL|
|25.5||Spring Hill Drive access||SPRING HILL|
|29.5||SR 50 trailhead||BROOKSVILLE|
|35.7||Centralia Rd crossing||BROOKSVILLE|
|41.3||US 98 trailhead||CHASSAHOWITZKA|
Download trail guide (PDF)