Hillsborough River State Park is one of Florida’s first state parks. Along with many outdoor activities, it boasts over seven miles of trails for hiking or running. This is a great park to explore as a trail runner! I have run trail races in Hillsborough River State Park, and I also recently camped here overnight and ran the trails right from my campsite.
The River Trails
With the Hillsborough River running right through the park, there are several trails near the water with great views. Not far from the pool area, there is a footbridge crossing the river which leads to the start of two of the trails. The Florida Trail and the Baynard Trail both have great views of the river. After crossing the bridge, follow the signs to the left to head out on the Florida Trail. This trail is a lot of fun! There are little up and down dips, wooden bridges to cross, and views of the river. The loop is 3.2 miles long. If you are lucky, you can look out over the river and spot an alligator.
If you head to the right after crossing the wooden footbridge, you will reach the Baynard trail. This trail will take you through some gorgeous forest and river views. There are lots of wooden bridges to cross and plenty of twists and turns. This loop is 2 miles long.
The third trail that is near the river is the Rapids trail. You can access the start of this trail at parking lot 2. This trail is shorter, but not any less fun for trail running! The rapids trails has some great running terrain and great views. It runs along the river and you can cross at the suspension bridge to access the Baynard trail. (Currently, the suspension bridge is under construction and not open to traffic).over the river. The Rapids trail is 1.2 miles long.
The Pine Flatwoods trails
Away from the river there are two other trails to explore in the park. The Wetlands trail and the Fort King trail are both on the south side of the park. The Wetlands trail starts in the pine flatwoods, and is a nice wide out and back trail. It is about 2 miles to the end of the trail, it ends at a gate entrance to the Dead River Park. If you continue into Dead River, you can add some distance to the Wetlands trail and even connect back to the Fort King Trail for a bigger loop.
You can access the Fort King trail outside of the park entrance at it’s own separate parking lot, or you can connect to it via the Wetlands trail. The separate parking area is located just south of the Hillsborough River entrance. The Fort King trail is 6.7 miles long, with 2.2 miles of paved trail also. If you wanted to loop back into Hillsborough River State Park, access the Dead River trail (via the road into Dead River Park). Then follow the trail north along the river to return to the Wetland Trail in Hillsborough River State Park.
Explore Hillsborough River Trails!
Hillsborough River State Park is a great way to get in some unique trail running. There are also two races that I have run in the park. Endeavor Racing hosts both the “River N Rapids” run in the spring, and the Hillsborough River 1/4, 1/2, and full marathon in the winter. Both races use the trails in the park. The River N Rapids race is one of my favorite local trail races! More information on these races can be found at Endeavor Racing.
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