Trail Running is one of my favorite outdoor activities. I am a regular runner, and do my weekend runs on the trails. I am lucky enough to have Starkey Wilderness Park located just minutes from my house. I have been running in Starkey for over ten years, on a mix of all the trails it has to offer. Starkey Park has off road trails and a paved trail. There is quite a mix of off road trails. This includes the hiking trails, the horseback riding trails, and the mountain bike trails. It is easy to create a bunch of different routes with varying distances by utilizing all the trails the Starkey Park has to offer.
According to the Starkey Wilderness Park website, there are 27 miles of hiking trails. Say what? I know there are a lot, and I have run on lots of them, but some of them aren’t marked well. So I can’t confirm all 27 miles. The hiking trails are marked in orange. There is a well used 3 mile loop, with a 1.9 mile loop option if you take the trail that cuts across the center of the loop. Most of my trail runs hit at least some part of this 3 miles hiking loop. The loop starts at the horse corral parking area.
Horseback Riding Trails
The horseback riding trails are south of the hiking trails, and run adjacent when you view them on the map. Parking for the horse trails is located at the horse corral. They are marked with yellow, and have about ten miles of trails. The horse trails are a little less groomed, and can be quite sandy when the weather has been dry. This can make for some tough trail running! I like to use portions of the horse trails to extend some of my hiking trail loops when I am looking for a longer run.
Mountain Biking Trails
The mountain biking trails were recently added to Starkey Park, built and maintained by the SWAMP Mountain Bike Club. The main access for the mountain bike trails are located at parking lot 10. They are marked in blue, with a blue sign at the beginning of each section, 36 sections built so far. There are about 13 miles of trails (one-way), with more planned to complete a loop. These are some fun, singletrack trails! They range from twisty and challenging in the palmetto sections, to smooth and fast in the oak tree areas.
Planning a Trail Running Route
By mixing up the three different off road trails, you could run a different route every time you came to Starkey Park. All the trails cross the power lines, which has an access road that can be used to pick up a different trail. The mountain bike trail even crosses the hiking trails in a few spots. Here are photos of the trails, one from Starkey Wilderness Park and the other from SWAMP club. The SWAMP club map is easy to read and accurate, but does not show the horse trails. The Starkey Park map does not show the mountain bike trails.