Located near Cockroach Bay, Cockroach Creek Greenway covers over 500 acres of land along Curiosity Creek.
A variety of natural habitats are protected by the property, which is an oasis for wildlife nestled within historic farmlands and increasing housing development.
Resources for exploring the area
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Length: Two loops, 4 miles total
Trailhead: 27.653745, -82.468798
Address: 4110 Valroy Rd, Ruskin
Land manager: Hillsborough County
Open sunrise to sunset. Dogs are allowed on a leash.
From Interstate 75, head west on 97th St E, continuing for two miles before turning right onto US 41. Stay on US 41 for 4.5 miles, then turn right onto Valroy Rd. In 2.5 miles, the trailhead will be on the right side of the road.
Starting at the parking area, pass through the pedestrian gate, taking a minute to look at the informational kiosk at the trailhead.
Red-topped posts mark the direction of the trail as it follows a service road southward.
Cabbage palms intersperse with pines lining the wide grassy pathway, among patches of bright yellow coreopsis, which typically bloom in the late spring.
After a quarter mile, turn right, following blue blazes through a thick palm and oak hammock.
At a half mile, make another right turn to begin a counterclockwise loop on the blue trail.
The scenery changes quickly, transitioning from oak hammock to a pine flatwoods habitat.
Dispersed pines tower over a flat savanna of palmettos and golden grasses with tufted ends nodding in the breeze.
The path cuts across this wide-open space, a prairie of small saw palmetto.
Yellow milkworts shoot long green stems from the damp soils, competing with short, grassy vegetation bordering the trail.
The trail passes seasonal prairie ponds, before entering the woods again under the cover of large oaks.
Shade is plentiful while following blue-painted posts eastward to complete the loop before turning right onto the Red Trail at 2.6 miles.
The Red Trail is a loop as well, showcasing the other side of the property.
The trail winds through a corridor of dense saw palmettos, and oaks with long horizontal branches carpeted in various epiphytes.
After a short jog alongside a barbed-wire fence, the trail turns sharply to the north, exiting the hammock again.
Red blazes guide hikers across a sunny opening in the canopy, cutting through a vibrant green sea of grass and palmettos.
The density of pines increases as the trail skirts around the edge of a grass-covered depression marsh.
Leaving the seasonal pond, follow the path for a tenth of a mile to complete the red loop.
Turning right, continue on the main service road for 0.2 mile to return to the trailhead.
A virtual walk in the woods at Cockroach Creek Greenway
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Directly across Tampa Bay from St. Petersburg, two loop trails in Cockroach Bay Nature Preserve navigate restored wetlands and a lookout point known as Mount Cockroach.
Located on the banks of the Little Manatee River, Camp Bayou Nature Preserve provides an easygoing set of trails through a variety of natural Florida habitats.
E.G. Simmons Park in Ruskin offers a campground along with its beaches and mazy mangrove-lined waterways for paddlers and anglers along Tampa Bay.