Fishhawk Creek Preserve protects a variety of natural ecosystems along the Alafia River and its namesake creek, a tributary of the river.
Divided into two halves, Fishhawk Creek North is adjacent to Lithia Springs Park. This south tract conserves natural land on the edge of rapid development.
Resources for exploring the area
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Length: 2.8 Mile Loop
Trailhead: 27.817867, -82.230335
Address: 16640 Boyette Rd, Riverview , FL 33569
Land manager: Hillsborough County
Open sunrise to sunset. Leashed pets permitted.
Northbound on Interstate 75 from Sun City Center, take exit 246, Big Bend Rd, and follow it east to US 301 north. Southbound from Riverview, take US 301 south. Reaching Rhodine Rd, follow it east for 5.4 miles before making a right onto Boyette Rd. In 0.1 mile, enter the traffic circle and take the 3rd exit, continuing on Boyette Rd. The entrance is about 200 feet down the road on the left.
From the parking area, head north past the pavilions and basketball court to a kiosk at the trailhead.
Passing through a break in the fence, continue north across an open area dotted by cabbage palms and palmettos.
Follow red blazes down a grassy path, cutting through a field completely covered in blackberry brambles.
Reaching the tree line on the opposite side, the trail enters a small shaded oak hammock for a few hundred feet, before emerging onto a grass-covered access road.
Turn left at a red-topped post with an arrow, following the road towards a fence line.
The trail begins to descend very slightly along the fence line towards the Fishhawk Creek basin.
Continue on this straight path for 0.2 mile, turning right at a red-topped post marked with the number two.
A roughly cut path winds through thick clusters of palmettos, reaching a wide-open field in a tenth of a mile. Turn left to head north along the western edge of the pasture.
This area was likely developed for agricultural purposes in the past, and controlled burns are regularly used to help restore the ecosystem.
Entering a young palm and oak hammock, a post emblazoned with the number three marks the beginning of a loop through the north end of the property.
Turn left to begin in a clockwise direction. The western side of the loop starts with an interesting mixed canopy of longleaf pines, live oaks, cabbage palms, with an understory of shrub and ferns.
Turning towards the east, the scenery quickly changes, entering a much drier scrub habitat. Rusty lyonia and scrub pines border the exposed sugar sand road.
Although the trail parallels Fishhawk Creek for a bit, no waterway is visible through the dense vegetation.
The path is clearly marked with several red-topped posts, many with arrows indicating turns. Follow these markers to remain on the main trail.
Shade is limited on the eastern half of the loop as it cuts through short shrubs, palmettos and scrub oaks.
At 1.7 mile, turn right a post marked with the number four. The trail follows along the edge of a pasture lined with longleaf pines for a little over a quarter mile before completing the loop.
Returning to the post marked with a three, turn left to head back, reaching the trailhead after another mile.
Visit Fishhawk Creek Preserve North, which has a separate entrance via Lithia Springs
Fishhawk Creek Preserve North
Hike rolling sandhills and rugged terrain sloping towards scenic views of the Alafia River and Little Fishhawk Creek near Lithia Springs.
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Rhodine Scrub Nature Preserve
An island of high ground in the Alafia River basin, Rhodine Scrub Nature Preserve protects more than 400 acres of Florida scrub habitat south of Riverview
Triple Creek Nature Preserve
Tying together adjacent Triple Creek and Balm Boyette Scrub Preserve, this nearly 5-mile hike loops through restored upland habitats.
Golden Aster Scrub Nature Preserve
Protecting uplands immediately east of Tampa Bay, Golden Aster Scrub Nature Preserve immerses hikers within oak scrub habitat along a sandy loop trail.
Golden Aster Scrub Western Loop
Creating a 5.2 mile loop on the west side of Golden Aster Scrub Nature Preserve, the Red and Yellow Trails reveal a diversity of habitats.