Western Pasco County, east of New Port Richey, North of Tampa
From SR 54, go north on Little Road (CR 1) 2.2 miles, right on River Crossing Blvd. 1.3 miles, left on Starkey Blvd. for 0.3 miles, then right on Wilderness Rd. into park. From SR 52, go south on Moon Lake Road (CR 587) 6.8 miles, left on DeCubellis Road 0.3 miles, then left on Wilderness Rd. into park.
If you want to do the ride reviewed here, you'll start at the southern terminus of the Suncoast Trail located at Lutz Lake Fern Road and the Suncoast Parkway. See our review of the Suncoast Trail for further directions.
Biking, walking, trail jogging, bird watching
Tent and cabin reservations: Starkey Wilderness Park, (727) 834-3247.
Shelter and pavilion reservations: (727) 934-4198.
Pasco County Parks & Recreation Department, (813) 929-1260.
Lots of great photos to give you a good idea of what riding here is like!
As an avid bike rider, trail reviewer and enthusiast, I hate to say that I just recently found Starkey Park. It's in my backyard per say, but I've never seen nor heard of it. Let me be the first to tell you, if you like riding multi-use bike trails and you're in the Tampa area, this might be a trail you should check out. We accessed the trail via from the connecting Suncoast Trail ( a 42 mile trail reviewed on this site). When we first reviewed the Suncoast Trail a few years ago, we either didn't see the Starkey park Trail or it didn't connect to the Suncoast yet. Either way, starting at the southern terminus of the Suncoast Trail at Lutz Lake Fern Road and the Suncoast Parkway, it's 6.75 enjoyable almost intersection free miles to the entrance of Starkey Park. Starkey Park features 6.5 miles of totally uninterrupted miles through slash pine and palmetto fields. At the end, or the beginning if you start from the Park's parking lot, there are restrooms, water fountains as well as camping facilities. Along the trail, there are many cold water coolers and shaded rest stops. Overall, the trail is very well maintained and for Florida, quite pretty.
Utilizing the Suncoast Trail, a 26.5 mile loop can easily be obtained. The wonderful thing about this trail connecting to the Suncoast is that this loop can be modified up to 97 miles! Needless to say, there are a lot of options. Along the Starkey Trail we spotted deer, turkey, tortoise and blue birds. With nice scenery, good facilities and a connecting trail, it's hard to top this little trail. Of note: There are many small roads along the trail that go to pumping stations for the Water Management Department and can at times, look like optional routes.
The Starkey Wilderness Preserve is one of the largest undeveloped tracts in Pasco County and protects sensitive environmental areas in the fast-growing western portion of Pasco County. The Preserve is comprised of three tracts: J.B. Starkey Wilderness Park, the Serenova Tract and the Anclote River Tract.
The Preserve is the culmination of foresight and cooperative spirit of individuals and governmental agencies working to carry forth “one man’s dream.” The park is named after Jay B. Starkey, Sr., who purchased the land in 1937 and then developed a cattle ranch and timber operation. In 1975, Mr. Starkey donated several hundred acres to the District, initiating the concept of permanently protecting the land and its resources for future generations.
The J.B. Starkey Wilderness Park is a regional park managed by Pasco County that features a paved trail that connects to the 42-mile Suncoast Paved Trail, picnic shelters, hiking, biking and equestrian trails, a primitive campground and camping cabins.
The Serenova and Anclote River Ranch tracts are managed by SWFWMD for passive nature-based outdoor recreation activities. These tracts have limited amenities and provide visitors a more rustic outdoor experience.
The Serenova Tract is a favorite for horseback riding with trails that wind through all of the major natural communities on the Preserve. Primitive equestrian and backcountry camping is also available at Serenova.
The Anclote River Ranch Tract can be accessed from the hiking trails in J.B. Starkey Wilderness Park and provide visitors the opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the Preserve with little sign of human presence. No trails are marked on the Anclote River Ranch Tract, but visitors can hike on the unimproved trails.
The prominent natural communities within Preserve are pine flatwoods, cypress domes, freshwater marshes, stream and lake swamps, sandhill and scrub. The 2,300 acres of wetland communities in Serenova combine with the wetlands in Starkey Wilderness Park to form a connected 6,000-acre wetland ecosystem spread throughout approximately 18,000 acres of conservation lands. Public acquisition of these lands has maintained this large wetland system as a functioning intact ecosystem. This vast network of scattered wetlands become interconnected during periods of high water levels and serve as vital life cycle linkages for many wetland-dependent species.
Like many District properties, the Preserve serves as a natural buffer for one of the region’s main freshwater res ources, the Pithlachascotee River. The lands protect water quality by acting as a natural filter of surfacewater as it flows across the landscape into the Pithlachascotee River and its main tributary, the Anclote River. The Preserve also serves as a recharge area for a regional wellfield operated by Tampa Bay Water that is an essential component of the multi-county water supply system that supplies drinking water to the greater Tampa Bay area.
Another less visible benefit of these lands is the vital link they play in assuring that the Gulf of Mexico receives the clean freshwater that is needed to maintain the long term health of the coastal estuaries. Without a source of clean freshwater, the estuaries could not serve as the vital link in the life cycle of numerous species of birds, aquatic plants such as seagrass and popular fish species such as redfish, sea trout and mullet.