Gateway to the vast Green Swamp, which is not a swamp like the Everglades but a mosaic of pine flatwoods and cypress strands where the Withlacoochee, Hillsborough, Peace, and Ocklawaha Rivers arise, Dade City offers easy access to day hikes and backpacking trips in the vast green spaces of Withlacoochee State Forest and water management district lands as well as several state parks.
Trails and Parks in Dade City
- Colt Creek State Park - Camping beneath the twinkling stars at Colt Creek State Park, enjoy a getaway from the busy bustle of the Interstate 4 corridor between Lakeland and Tampa
- Florida Trail, Cypress Lakes Preserve - At Cypress Lakes Preserve, a 1.7-mile segment of the Florida Trail follows the edge of a series of cypress-lined lakes where ancient trees have survived the ages
- Florida Trail, Western Corridor - 241 miles. With segments linking Withlacoochee State Forest and the Cross Florida Greenway, the Western Corridor provides access to wild spaces between Tampa and Ocala
- Fort Foster State Historic Site - Part of Hillsborough River State Park, Fort Foster State Historic Site takes you back to the era of Florida's earliest pioneer settlers and their clashes with the native Seminoles.
- Gator Creek Reserve - A dip into a corner of the Green Swamp, Gator Creek Preserve north of Lakeland offers 2.5 miles of easy loop trails for the whole family to explore
- Hillsborough River Hiking Trails - One of Tampa's oldest parks, Hillsborough River State Park has a 5.8-mile trail system as its centerpiece, through old-growth forest and along river rapids.
- Hillsborough River State Park - Water in motion: the Hillsborough rapids foam and froth over limestone boulders beneath grand cypress trees in Class II rapids. One of Florida's oldest state parks, Hillsborough River State Park showcases this masterpiece of nature from an overlook and trail system built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
- Mac Lake Trail - An easy excursion into a dense hardwood forest along a natural floodplain, the Mac Lake Nature Trail at Colt Creek State Park is an interpretive walk in the woods
- Oak Ridge Tract - A mosaic of cypress swamps, pine flatwoods, and sandhills, the Oak Ridge Tract of Lower Hillsborough Wilderness Preserve offers an immersive day hike destination with many hiking options
- Upper Hillsborough River Hiking Trail - A linear trail, the Upper Hillsborough River Hiking Trail meanders through pine flatwoods, oak hammocks, and floodplain forests along the edge of the Hillsborough River basin.
- Withlacoochee River Park - With two different trails - gentle and wild - showing off the park's natural features, Withlacoochee River Park is a popular overnight camping destination.