The Rollercoaster trail at Alafia River State Park caters well to the family since, despite being an intermediate-level trail, there are ways to opt out of some of the jumps that make it tricky. Also, except for the jumps, the singletrack trail is relatively flat, and given the trees, you’ll likely be in the shade for most of the trail. As such, you can ride at any time of the day. It also eases you in before you get to the trickier parts of the trail.
The trail starts and ends on the Alafia State Park service road at an intersection with other bike trails like the “Best of Alafia River State Park” trail, sand pine trail, multi-use loop, etc. The start of the trail is fairly easy to get through, and just about anybody, regardless of skill level, should breeze through it.
After that, you get into a flowy section where there are plenty of ups and downs. While fairly technical, it’s unlikely that anyone will have any issues until they get to the next section, which is aptly named “Derailed.” If you’re an experienced rider, it should be fun.
If you’re fairly new to mountain biking, the quick drops and jumps may be a bit much.
Next are a few tabletop jumps and even a gap jump that you might need to be wary of. Some of these jumps are designed with a cement wall forming the ramp. There’s even a wooden rolling ramp leading up to one of them. Another exciting feature is a huge four-foot drop.
There is only one other tricky section of the trail before you reach the end, although it doesn’t involve any huge jumps. Instead, we found that you’ll need to take the corners hard and fast to make it out unscathed.
Some sections, e.g., the section with multiple tabletop jumps, may be worth repeating, especially if there aren’t many riders on the trail that day.
The trail is fairly small, and there’s not much else to see apart from the trees. However, there are other interesting things around the park if you explore the other trails.
The difficult parts can sneak up on you, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the trail. It might help to take it slow on your first one or two outings if you don’t trust yourself to handle the quick turns, jumps, and large drops.