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The Courtney Campbell Trail is one of Florida's most iconic bike rides, with water views spanning 9.5 miles across upper ("Old") Tampa Bay. However, on weekends and holidays finding free parking along the causeway can be a problem. A solution at the eastern end is free parking at either of two public parks - Skyway Park or Cypress Point Park - located at opposite ends of the Skyway Park Trail (red on map). This paved connector runs north-south for 2 miles, mostly parallel to the Veterans Expressway. The eastern terminus of the Courtney Campbell Trail is at Bayport Dr.where it meets the Veterans Expressway - conveniently just across the street from the Skyway Park Trail. (Note: Located in Tampa, this is not to be confused with the "Skyway Trail" in St. Pete). (Map and photos below)
Skyway Park Trail
Location: Tampa, FL
End Points: Skyway Park (north), Cypress Point Park (south)
Mileage: 2 miles
Surface: Paved asphalt, 10'
Nearby points of interest: Beaches and attractions in Tampa and Clearwater, FL
When the trail first opened in 2010, the FDOT referred to it as the "U-Path" and a sign on the trail still displays this name. Soon after completion, local authorities took over the trail and it has since been referred to as the Veterans Memorial Trail, the Veterans Memorial/Skyway Park Trail, or simply the Skyway Park Trail - so take your pick. Whatever the name, here are two good options for easy biking access to the scenic Courtney Campbell Trail. Both parks are open from sunrise to sunset.
This section runs north from Courtney Campbell Trail to Skyway Park. The trail here appears to be newer with the surface in better condition compared to the other section (south to Cypress Point Park). At about 0.7 mile, it is also a shorter distance from the Courtney Campbell Trail. However, Skyway Park is intended primarily as a youth sports complex, with few other appealing features when compared to Cypress Point Park. Also, the location is probably not as convenient for the majority of people living in the area. Most likely these are the reasons why we saw only one other biker on the trail in this section on the day we visited.
Skyway Park (parking, restrooms, playground, playing fields, concession) is primarily a youth sports complex. It is located next to the Veterans Expressway, directly across from Tampa International Airport - thus, the name.
This section runs south from Courtney Campbell Trail to Cypress Point Park. The surface here has some rough spots and roots pushing up through the pavement. At about 1.3 miles, it's a longer distance from the Courtney Campbell Trail than the other section (to Skyway Park). It also requires biking about a block though a business park entrance to reach the parking area. However, this Park contains some appealing features compared to Skyway Park: (1) it is right on the bay, with excellent views; (2) there's a short, shady paved trail spanning the length of the park, and (3) the location is probably more convenient for the majority of people living in the area. Most likely, these are the reasons why we saw about a dozen other bikers on the trail in this section on the day we visited.
Cypress Point Park is a scenic location on Old Tampa Bay, with parking, restrooms, picnic, playground, beach, kayak/canoe launch, and disc golf course. Cypress Point Park Trail winds about a mile though the length of the park, through the disc golf course and connecting to parking, picnicking and other park amenities.
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