Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Balm Boyette Scrub Preserve Mountain Bike Trails, Lithia, Florida
I had never heard of Lithia before… according to Wikipedia, Lithia is an unincorporated community in Hillsborough County, Florida, United States. It is a suburb of Tampa and has a population of 8,527. The zip code is 33547. The area code is 813. The area includes the Census-designated place of Fish Hawk… whatever that is. Read more...
Anyway, it’s a rural community and the trail head/parking area is kind of in the middle of nowhere. But, that’s good because that means there are probably lots of good trails. The county owned “scrub preserve” is 4900 acres of upland scrub, oak and pine trees, several lakes and enough small undulations to make the topography super fun. No real climbing—this is still Florida—but an abundance of rollers to keep it interesting.
This network is also managed and maintained by the South West Association of Mountain bike Pedalers, also known as SWAMP and I’ll once again refer you to their web site at www.swampclub.org for more details including directions and a trail map.
I had a map, I even had it printed on “adventure paper,” but it fell out of my pocket on the fire-road ride in. I found it on the way back to the car, but it would have definitely made my first ride there better.
Anyway, the main network of trails is about a 2-mile ride from the parking area, on a straight flat fire road. There IS a fun twisty singletrack trail that you can take for about half of that, but either way, the real fun is a few minutes down the road.
I really enjoyed them all, from the awesome Ridgeline to Sidewinder to Loch Ness to Northwest and Northeast.
This was the second trail system I had ridden that was managed by SWAMP and I’m really impressed with their work. Their web site his helpful, the maps are clear, the trails are marked very well and it seems like they’re making great strides in making Florida a great state for mountain biking.
Anyway, you really can’t go wrong no matter which trails you choose out there and many are set up to be unidirectional.
One more thing… I rode there myself the first time and then went back another day with my wife. We had stopped at an intersection somewhere near the north part of the trails, and we heard a noise that was no lie, no exaggeration, like a horror movie growl. It was like an angry bear or tiger. It definitely a WTF moment. I guess it was an alligator but I thought we were a bit back from the water… whatever, we never saw what it was, but it was an interesting experience for sure! (THIS is what it sounded like)