Protecting over a hundred acres of land, Stephen J. Wortham Park provides a variety of options for family-friendly outdoor recreation.
The park features a lake that is managed by the state as a fish management area. A popular fishing dock, picnic area, and playground are situated lakeside.
Their wooded nature trail is also an access point to a larger trail system in neighboring Rhodine Scrub Nature Preserve.
Resources for exploring the area
Disclosure: As authors and affiliates, we receive earnings when you buy these through our links. This helps us provide public information on this website.
Length: 1.3 mile loop
Trailhead: 27.824099, -82.287759
Address: 12108 Rhodine Rd, Riverview
Restrooms: Yes, at the trailhead.
Land manager: Hillsborough County
Open Sunrise to Sunset. Dogs allowed on a leash.
From the interchage off Interstate 75 for Gibsonton Dr in Riverview, head northeast on Gibsonton Dr for 1 mile, continuing straight across US 301, where it becomes Boyette Rd. In .8 miles, turn right onto Balm Riverview Rd. Continue straight for 2.5 miles, before turning left onto Rhodine Rd. The driveway to the park is on the left in .6 mile. The trailhead is located at the end of the road.
The main drive ends at a turnaround, where a green-topped post marks the beginning of the Bluestem Trail.
Follow a paved pathway leading into the forest for a tenth of a mile before reaching a sturdy, though sometimes slippery wooden bridge.
Crossing the wooden walkway, green blazes guide the way along a narrow sandy trail lined with clusters of thin grasses.
Pine and oak trees dot a landscape of short shrubby vegetation covered with grape, catbrier, and mimosa vines.
An impressively diverse variety of native plants flank the trail on both sides, flowering at different times throughout the year.
Florida pennyroyal and dwarf huckleberries bloom in the spring, followed by the creamy white petals on netted pawpaws.
The fall season brings splashes of yellow and purple blossoms of goldenrod and blazing stars.
This abundance of greenery attracts a multitude of wildlife, as several species of butterfly drift alongside the path, while countless birds chatter in the bushes and trees.
Gopher tortoises are commonly seen in the morning or late afternoon moseying down a side of the trail, munching on various grasses.
Shade comes and goes as the trail navigates a curious blend of habitats, with elements of hammocks, flatwoods, scrub, and sandhills.
Continue straight at 0.2 mile, staying on the green blazed loop, and then stay to the left at 0.3 mile, at an intersection with the red trail leading into Rhodine Scrub Nature Preserve.
Heading westward, the landscape becomes progressively drier, as water oak and longleaf pine give way to silk bay, sand pine.
Goldenasters sport vibrant yellow flowers late in the year. The pathway transitions to stark white sugar sand as trail markers become far less frequent.
It helps to have an aerial map on hand to navigate the far side of the loop as it curves back towards the east.
The crisscrossing side trails can be tricky, although they allow for further exploration and are generally well-defined.
Green blazes indicate the loop trail leading towards an intersection with the main trail at 1.1 miles.
Turning right at the end of the loop, the trailhead is in another 0.2 mile, after crossing the bridge once again.
A virtual walk in the woods at Stephen J. Wortham Park
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Rhodine Scrub Nature Preserve
An island of high ground in the Alafia River basin, Rhodine Scrub Nature Preserve protects more than 400 acres of Florida scrub habitat south of Riverview
Fishhawk Creek Preserve South
An easy-going 2.8-mile loop trail explores the south tract of Fishhawk Creek Preserve providing a glimpse of a few natural and endangered Florida habitats.
Triple Creek Nature Preserve
Tying together adjacent Triple Creek and Balm Boyette Scrub Preserve, this nearly 5-mile hike loops through restored upland habitats.
Nestled alongside the Alafia River in Riverview, Pebble Park is a family-friendly natural area offering quiet shaded trails and approachable open spaces.