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.
Resources for exploring the area
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Address: 15402 US 301 N, Thonotosassa
Fees: $6 per vehicle
Restroom: At picnic areas
Land Manager: Florida State Parks
Open 8AM to sunset. Leashed dogs welcome.
Take Interstate 75 to Tampa exit 265 (Fowler Avenue). Head east to its junction with US 301. Turn north and drive 10.5 miles to the park entrance. Follow the one-way loop to your chosen parking area. Parking Area #2 provides easy access to a view of the rapids.
About the Park
Opened in 1938, the park features CCC-era picnic pavilions, gazebos, and a cool swinging, swaying bridge connecting the busiest part of the park with trails through its jungle-like forests of ancient oaks and giant ferns.
A big, shallow swimming pool – open seasonally – is always busy on the weekends.
Rental bicycles and surreys let you explore the one-way deeply shaded park road and off-road trails. Rent a canoe or bring your own.
Launching below the rapids, you can paddle past turtles under tall palm trees into Florida’s past.
Trails in Hillsborough River State Park
Along the trails of Hillsborough River State Park
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
At the north edge of Tampa, Lettuce Lake Park protects 240 acres along the Hillsborough River, with a loop trail and boardwalk that shows off cypress swamps and uplands.
In addition to the 6.9 mile paved bike path loop at its core, Flatwoods Park at Lower Hillsborough Wilderness provides many different routes for outdoor exploration
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