Violet Cury Preserve protects 160 acres of uplands near the watershed for Cypress Creek, east of Interstate 275 in Lutz.
As you hike the preserve, the terrain changes rapidly from sandy oak hammocks to marshy flatwoods covered with palmettos along the yellow blazed loop circling the property.
Resources for exploring the area
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Length: 1.5-mile loop
Trailhead: 28.09160, -82.43920
Address: 1802 Sinclair Hills Rd, Lutz FL 33549
Land manager: Hillsborough County
Open sunrise to sunset. Dogs are allowed on a leash.
From Interstate 275 north of Tampa, head east on E Bearss Ave for 0.4 mile, and turn left onto N 12th Street. In a quarter mile, turn right onto Sinclair Hills Rd. The parking area will be on the left in half a mile.
From the parking area, head through a break in the fence and look for a post painted yellow and marked with the number one.
Turn left to start a clockwise loop around the preserve.
The trail is narrow at first, weaving through a jungle of palmettos, pines, and small oaks.
In about a quarter mile, the trail opens to a wide forest road, next to a post emblazoned with the number two.
Follow the yellow blazes along the road, which is lined by columns of pines and carpeted with reddish brown needles.
The road transitions through a section of sandy oaks, then pine trees again before reaching marker number three.
Turn right onto a forest road bordered by saw palmettos that transitions to a hammock of sand live oaks with water oak saplings sprouting from the understory.
As the road approaches marker number four, Flynn Lake becomes visible through the brush.
The trail runs along the shoreline of Flynn Lake, offering scenic views of a basin covered with aquatic vegetation and grasses.
At marker number five, turn left onto a narrower trail beneath the limbs of a gnarled live oak.
Follow the yellow blazes to the north as pines and palmettos become prevalent again. You’ll catch glimpses of Flynn Lake to the left.
Reaching the northeast corner of the preserve, take a sharp right at a yellow topped post marked with the number seven.
Head south through a shaded canopy of oaks, pines, and cabbage palms. Grapevines and catbrier weave through scrubby brushes close to the ground.
The sandy soils provide an excellent habitat for gopher tortoises. They can be seen occasionally alongside the trail, munching on grasses.
At an intersection with a post marked with the number eight, continue straight to head south towards a small pond.
A downed tree on the shoreline provides a spot to rest, overlooking the lily-pad dotted pool.
At the next intersection, turn left to return to the parking area, completing the loop.
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Cypress Creek Nature Preserve
A short drive from downtown Tampa, Cypress Creek Nature Preserve is an interesting window into a gradient of ecosystems along a tributary of the Hillsborough River.
Lake Conservation Park
A forested escape north of Tampa, Lake Conservation Park features a network of trails where you can loop nearly four miles around a series of small lakes.
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
Morris Bridge Park
While the gentle loop boardwalk at Morris Bridge Park is a major reason to stop and savor the Hillsborough River, the park also provides cyclists a trailhead to off-road adventure