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. Although the habitats show signs of former ranching, with ditches draining wetland areas and stands of planted trees, there are pockets of giant oaks and cypresses within the preserve.
Length: Up to 18 miles
Lat-Long: 28.148608, -82.278465 or 28.115195, -82.300019
Fees / Permits: $2 per vehicle if you enter via Flatwoods Park
Bug factor: moderate
Open sunrise to sunset; overnight stays allowed with a free permit, which you must obtain in advance. No dogs or bicycles are permitted.
Access via Flatwoods Park (parking $2) or the main trailhead north of Cross Creek Blvd along Morris Bridge Rd.
Although these trails were developed as an equestrian area, it is also very popular with hikers, who can use the backpacking campsites. There are two main access points: a dedicated trailhead on Morris Bridge Rd north of Cross Creek Blvd, and the Washburn Gate across from Flatwoods Park. Our hike began at the Washburn Gate, and was led by the Suncoast Chapter of the Florida Trail Association, where you’ll find guided hikes in this preserve on their Meetup page. We’ll share full details soon!