February 18, 2019
A Yankee's perspective: anyone coming from mountains should have no problem with the Blue and Single Black Diamond trails. Double blacks will primarily depend on how good you are at drops and jumps.
So I just rode this today. First off- mountain bike only unidirectional trails automatically makes this a good trail system. But add in how well maintained the trails are (thank you Swamp guys and gals), the flow, the tech they have been able to add, the fact that there is a trail for every leval, and the sheer beauty of the place, and you have something special.
Would I make a trip to FL just to ride it- probably not just for the mountain biking part. You can find things just as good probably a lot closer to home. But I would for the uniqueness and beauty of it. I mean where else can you mountain bike in jurassic park and pass a rookery of Snowy Egrets? And if you are within a 3 hour drive of it while in FL you definitely should check it out.
Re skill color markings- I would say they are accurate. The blacks and double blacks aren't really more gnarly, as there isn't much gnar in general (it is FL after all) but they have more technical ascents and descents and the double blacks have some real rad drops and jumps that are not for the faint of heart or unskilled.
If you like speed hit North Creek and Rollercoaster. There are then some short blues and blacks and double blacks off of these you can try if you're feeling up to it. Buzzard Bay, Razorback, Derailed and Frankenstairs were all dooable by yours truly on a rental with no dropper. That lack of dropper stopped me doing some bigger drops as I nearly got castrated by the seat on a 6 footer and decided to limit myself to 3 footers or less after that.
UBC Alafia has a great mini bike shop there if you forget something and they rent bikes. Word of warning- no droppers on the cheaper rental mountain bikes and not even a quick flip on the seat post. I'm gonna write them about this. They are really awesome and have some nice bikes, but come on man, it's 2019 and with trails like what they have in Alafia all their bikes should have droppers. I rented a Stumpy ST (120/130) that if it had a dropper would have been a fine bike. But as it was I rode half my ride with the seat too low for pedalling so I could hit the drops, and then when I was getting cramps raised it for the more pedal trails but had to avoid drops and just couldn't really jump at all.
Type of bike- don't need a long travel bike, although something slacked out that pedals well too would be awesome for the drops on the double blacks. I was so wishing I had my Bronson- while I wouldn't have needed all the suspension it would have allowed me to hit the double black drops.
Recommend going to Alafiatrails.com before you go- they have GoPro footage of all the trails.
$5 per car to get in.
Now stop reading this and go ride it.