Protecting over 8,000 acres of land surrounding a river impacted by decades of agriculture, Little Manatee River Corridor Nature Preserve is part of an important restoration effort.
The preserve consists of several tracts. The 579 Trailhead provides one of the more easy-to-access destinations for hiking this preserve.
Resources for exploring the area
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Length: 3.5 mile loop
Trailhead: 27.676137, -82.302236
Address: 2608 S. CR 579, Wimauma
Land manager: Hillsborough County
Open sunrise to sunset. Leashed pets permitted. Picnic tables are provided.
From Interstate 75, turn onto FL 674 heading east and continue for 5 miles, turning right onto CR 579. In 2.6 mile, the entrance will be on the left side of the road.
At the trailhead, pass through the gate and take a moment to view a kiosk with trail maps and other pertinent information about the preserve.
Continue southward, following red blazes along a service road.
The road is straight as it parallels the western border of the property for half a mile.
Columns of longleaf pine line the edges of the path, while netted pawpaws and sunshine mimosa flourish amongst grasses and palmettos.
Reaching the half-mile mark, turn left as the trail leads out into an open pine flatwoods prairie.
Wiregrass and palmettos carpet this panoramic view dotted with an occasional pine tree. A variety of colorful wildflowers sprout from the edges of the pathway.
Red blazes indicate the trail’s sweeping arc through the prairie, reaching the connector trail in a quarter mile.
Posts marked with blue and red border the path as it dips through a damp forest surrounding a creek.
Exiting thick tree cover, turn right to begin a counterclockwise loop on the blue trail.
The wide path traces an edge of the pine flatwoods, which happens to be a preferred habitat of invasive cogongrass.
Hillsborough County actively manages these aggressive non-native plants, spraying them with a blue-tinged herbicide.
The blue loop continues for a little over a mile and a half, circling an expansive green sea of saw palmettos.
Live oak trees line the perimeter, providing patches of cool shade on a sunny day. Returning to the connector trail, cross the little creek again, then turn right onto the red trail.
Red blazes follow alongside the creek through a mixed forest of pine, laurel oaks and water oaks for 0.2 mile before returning to pine flatwoods.
Although many of the longleaf pines are young, the forest is in a healthy stage of restoration.
After tunneling through a shady oak hammock of sorts, the trail emerges at a final stretch of pine flatwoods for 0.2 mile before making a sharp left onto a sandy road.
In a tenth of a mile, the hike concludes at the trailhead.
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Scenery, rugged landscape, and botanical diversity are all important factors for a great Florida hike. You’ll find that on the 6.5-mile Little Manatee River Hiking Trail, one of our long-time favorites.
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.
Protecting uplands immediately east of Tampa Bay, Golden Aster Scrub Nature Preserve immerses hikers within oak scrub habitat along a sandy loop trail.