The Balm Boyette Scrub preserve is one of the best-hidden gems for riders who like a challenge. You can do all-day riding here, starting at multiple points and ending up somewhere different, with the trails offering different views and sceneries to keep you motivated.
Also, the gradient changes fairly often, although the climbs are fairly short. As such, in our opinion, you get just the right amount of difficulty to make the experience worthwhile. What makes it a hidden gem is that it's often overlooked for its more popular counterpart, the Alafia State Park. However, this also means less of a crowd on the trail when you decide to explore it, which some people prefer.
Given that it's a large preserve, multiple trails mean multiple start and end points. Some of these include the Spider Berm trail, Rattlesnake run, Woods trail, Sasquatch trail, golf cart trail, etc.
As for the trail surfaces, they vary from single-track to multipurpose double-track, and while you may be able to explore most of the preserve, there are some areas where bikes aren't allowed. Similarly, hikers and runners aren't allowed on the single-track trails for safety. Dogs are also allowed on the double-track but are prohibited from the single-track.
Some tracks mentioned are looped, while others are straight lines meaning you won't know where you'll end up until you decide which one you're exploring. Naturally, they also have varying difficulty levels with the gradient changing as well. As such, you can try different trails or loops depending on your experience level.
Overall there are about 12 easy, 14 intermediate, and eight difficult trails making the preserve an intermediate. However, as we noted during our rides there, there's something for everybody, including the hardcore mountain biker.
With some trails, you end up going through impressive landscapes with lots of greenery, around lakes, and even through a canopy of trees. The Spider Berm trail, for instance, is about a 1.2-mile stretch of single-track trail with several bridges and flow. It goes around part of the lake with curves, and hairpin turns to make the ride interesting. Also, "Chaos" is the only difficult section of the trail.
Unfortunately, there are no shuttles nearby. With that, you always have to go back to the starting point, whether it's by looping around the trail or tracking back. Consequently, it might be a good idea to carry a repair kit just in case you get a puncture or there's some other issue on the trail.
As a scrub preserve, most of the interesting sights include interesting plants like the Florida golden aster and Florida scrub jays. However, you can still encounter animals like gopher tortoises as well. The landscape is gorgeous and diverse, although it'll likely differ depending on the particular trail you choose to use while riding on a particular day.