Established as the Lower Hillsborough Flood Detention Area in the 1960s to prevent flooding in the city of Tampa, Lower Hillsborough Wilderness Preserve protects 16,000 acres of floodplain forests and uplands along the river’s sinuous flow south from the Green Swamp to the edge of Tampa.
Lat-Lon: 28.148891, -82.278711
Fees / Permits: Entrance fees charged for most entrances. Free permits required for primitive camping.
Hunting is permitted in some parts of the preserve at different times of year. Check the FWC website for dates.
Various entrances between Bruce B. Downs Blvd, Morris Bridge Rd, and US 301. See below.
The largest natural area in the Tampa Bay region, it can be accessed via seven distinct preserves and parks between Bruce B. Downs Blvd, Morris Bridge Rd, and US 301. With more than 60 miles of hiking, biking (paved and off-road), and equestrian trails throughout the preserve and recreation facilities such as picnic pavilions and fishing piers in its parks, it is one of Tampa’s favorite places to get outdoors.
Explore the preserve
- John B Sargeant Park- At the scenic confluence of Flint Creek with the Hillsborough River, John B Sargeant Park provides access to the Hillsborough River State Canoe Trail amid a lush cypress floodplain, with a boardwalk and footpath showcasing the views.
- Morris Bridge Park- Immersing you in the floodplain forest of the Hillsborough River, Morris Bridge Park has a short but beautiful boardwalk amid the deep shade of tall cypresses and oaks. Each twist and turn presents a different panorama of the swamp.
- Oak Ridge Equestrian Area- A mosaic of cypress floodplains, pine flatwoods, and sandhills, the Oak Ridge Equestrian Area is a thousand-acre woodland with 18 miles of trails burrowing deep into the forest.
- Trout Creek Nature Park- Under a tight-knit canopy of live oaks, Trout Creek Nature Park provides a pleasant place for a family picnic and a nature walk along the floodplain of the Hillsborough River.