VIDEO: Pedaling Paradise — A Journey Along the Timpoochee Trail on Scenic 30A - 30A


VIDEO: Pedaling Paradise — A Journey Along the Timpoochee Trail on Scenic 30A

The Timpoochee Trail – also known as the Scenic 30A Bike Path – is a 19-mile paved recreational trail that gently glides along Florida’s Scenic Highway 30A through a dozen distinct and charming beach communities, three incredible state parks, a dozen rare coastal dune lakes, and, of course, the gorgeous Gulf of Mexico.

Part of the Florida State Park system, the Timpoochee Trail was developed in the late 1980s and early 1990s by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection as part of the state’s effort to provide a safe and scenic route for cyclists, pedestrians, and other outdoor enthusiasts.

The trail’s name, Timpoochee, is derived from a Native American word that means “crooked river.” However, more specifically, this 30A trail is said to be named after Timpoochee Barnard, a Native American Chieftain of the Yuchi (YOU-CHEE) Tribe, part of the Creek Nation. Timpoochee served as a member of the Creek National Council and fought alongside American troops against other indigenous tribes. When meeting Timpoochee Barnard’s son, President Andrew Jackson greeted him by stating, “A braver man than your father never lived.” Timpoochee Barnard died at the age of 58, just prior to the forced removal of the Creek Indians from Alabama.

Like virtually all places in Florida, The Timpoochee Trail is pretty darn flat, making it idyllic for extended families. And you certainly don’t need to take in the trail all at once. Just pick a segment and peddle until your heart or legs are content.

Whenever you need a break, you can rest assured that you’re never more than a couple of wheel-turns away from cafes, restaurants, parks, shopping, and the best beaches in the world.

“I’ve got so many fond memories on the Timpoochee Trail. I ride my bike a lot now just because it’s a lot more convenient from one end to the other. You’re going to be connected to nature and for me that’s the best way to spend any day… is connected to nature,” said Jeff Archer of YOLO Board and Bikes.

The Timpoochee Trail begins appropriately at Mile Zero located just south of the intersection of US. Highway 98 and Scenic 30A. Cyclists will be immediately tempted to hang a hard right straight into Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, which contains its own extensive network of paved and unpaved trails that wind through diverse ecosystems, including sand dunes, coastal scrub, and pine forests. A little farther east, you’ll pass Stalworth Lake on the right, the first of many coastal dune lakes you’ll encounter on this scenic journey. Traversing through the beach community known as Dune Allen, you’ll cross more lakes and enjoy fantastic glimpses of the Gulf between some of the old cinder block homes that still cling to this area’s rich past.

There are some excellent beach access points along this portion of the temp trail, including Dune Allen Regional Beach Access and Ed Walline Beach Access, both with picnic facilities and restrooms. You can even enjoy a raw oyster break near Gulf Place at 30A’s famous Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar. Or if you somehow neglected to actually bring a bike on this bike ride, you can rent a 30A Electric Bike at the YOLO Store right here in Gulf Place.
“It’s become a big hack for me when it comes to just getting around, but it’s also just a relaxing way to spend a day. I’ve ridden the whole way several times. It really has changed the way that you can see. 30A, not just an elite athlete can ride from one end to the other. Now, anybody can do it,” said Jeff.

As you pedal east, you’ll cross a covered bridge at Draper Lake before you begin the long and physically punishing ascent straight up Blue Mountain. Okay, who are we kidding? Blue Mountain is hardly a speed bump, but once you reach the summit, you can treat yourself to a nice mimosa brunch at Blue Mabel or wait until you cross the Blue Mountain range to snag lunch at Redfish Taco or even ice cream at Blue Mountain Creamery. With Blue Mountain now firmly in your rearview, you’ll soon cross three more dune lakes, including Big Redfish Lake, Little Red Fish Lake, and Alligator Lake before you reach Grayton Beach, arguably the soul of the 30A community.Before continuing along the Timpoochee Trail, hang a hard right onto Fuac Street and cruise down past two of 30A’s famous beach bars, the Red Bar and Chiringo. There’s a sandy boardwalk here where you can take in all of Grayton Beach’s gorgeous glory before continuing your ride east. Just a short pedal further, the 2000-acre Grayton Beach State Park offers another delightful detour with public facilities and even more trailheads for both hiking and biking. These offshoot trails are sandy and undeveloped, so reserve them for the more advanced riders in your group.Around mile marker nine, you’ll cross Western Lake, perhaps scenic 30A’s most iconic vista before cruising into WaterColor, one of 30A’s signature resort communities. There are excellent trails here as well, making WaterColor perhaps 30A’s best community for biking and hiking.

30A’s Beach Happy Cafe here in WaterColor has even become something of a hangout for peddlers pausing long enough for coffee, a smoothie, a fresh bite, or even a cold draft beer. Right next door, parking can be a challenge in the ever-popular seaside community, which makes bikes and e-bikes the ultimate way to visit and explore this beloved beach town. As you first enter town, turn left on Natchez Street and look for the Truman House where Jim Carrey filmed one of his most iconic moments. As you ride into the Town Center, there will likely be many pedestrians, so it’s best to dismount through this congested area and take in all the energy that this vibrant community has to offer. If you’re in need of a break, grab something to eat or drink along Seaside’s famous Airstream Row, including Barefoot Barbecue, some gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, and much more.

After leaving Seaside, arguably the heart of 30A, you’ll pass through Seagrove and cross Eastern Lake before riding along a long stretch of trail, sandwiched between Point Washington State Forest and Deer Lake State Park. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore this recently refurbished treasure of a park. The Timpoochee Trail finally comes to a spectacular conclusion as Scenic Highway 30A rejoins US Highway 98, but not without first putting on one final dazzling display.

Known for its jaw-dropping stark white architectural beauty, Alys Beach is home to cafes, restaurants, parks, and plazas, perfect for indulging in end-of-the-ride rewards. Wind through the north side of this extraordinary community and cross Somerset Bridge before refueling at Fonville Press, George’s, Raw and Juicy, or the Citizen Restaurant. Just a short stroll or pedal east, you’ll pass through the villages at Seacrest and into Rosemary Beach, the perfect punctuation mark to bring your ride to a close. Amidst this bike and pedestrian-friendly town, you’ll find charming architecture that evokes old-world vibes, as well as an upscale collection of restaurants and boutique shops.

“When I first came here, I went camping in Grayton Beach State Park, called my wife from the park, and said, we have to move here, and watching it grow up has just been awesome, ” recalled Jeff. “Really, it is starting to feel like an Aspen at the beach type of feeling where you’ve got these high-end elevated amenities and things to do, and it really is something special.”

As far as happy trails go 30A’s Timpoochee Trail is about as happy as it gets. Beach bars, coffee shops, food trucks, state parks – the Timpoochee Trail offers it all. But when the trail finally runs out, don’t worry, you can just turn around and do it all over again, or you can always go back the other way.

For more in-depth 30A travel guides, follow 30A on YouTube.


Sign up for 30A's FREE email newsletter

Invalid email address
You can unsubscribe at any time.