The trails at Wilderness Park are part of a large trail system in Tampa, Florida. The trails connect between three parks: Trout Creek, Flatwoods, and Morris Bridge (aka Hole-In-The-Fence). The SWAMP mountain bike club maintains these off road mountain bike trails. Even though they are mountain bike trails, they are also great for trail running. The trails at Hole-In-The-Fence offer a lot of technical single track, and they are a lot of fun to run on.
The parking area for Hole-In-The-Fence is at 12651 Morris Bridge Road, Thonotosassa, FL 33592. This is just off of Interstate 75. Parking is $2 per vehicle. There are envelopes at the pay station, and you must have cash to park.
The Hole-In-The-Fence trails run along a main branch of the Wilderness Trails. (The Wilderness Trails continue in either direction to connect to the trails at Trout Creek or Flatwoods. ) The fun part about the trails at Hole-In-The-Fence is all the side trails that branch off of the main trail. A lot of these are technical, with twists and turns, roots, and some small inclines. With so many side trail options, you can choose a route as short or as long as you like. You are never too far from the main trail and your return to the parking lot.
Sean and I recently ran at Hole-In-The-Fence, choosing several of the side trails. You start down the main trail, which is divided into two one-way sections for the first 1/2 mile. You then reach an area with a big wooden map, where many of the side trails intersect or are not far off. I love the names of all the trails here! Trails like Gator Bait, Techno Pig, Misery, Hog Wild, and Grandpa tempt you down their paths.
Gator Bait? Heartbreak Ridge?
For our recent trail run here, we wanted about 8 miles. We headed down the main path, then turned right at the intersection with the big wooden sign. From there, we picked up the Gator Bait trail to the left. Gator Bait trail is listed as a “Very Difficult Trail.” It definitely had a lot of roots on it, but was not too hard to navigate on foot. This trail can get flooded in the rainy season, as it is not far from the nearby Cow House Creek.
After exiting Gator Bait onto the main trail, the Indian trail was nearby waiting for us. We headed down the Indian trail, another trail marked as “Very Difficult.” This trail is pretty and fun to run on! Keep an eye out for wildlife! I spied a box turtle friend trying to hide on the middle of the trail.
We followed Indian trail to the end, where it comes out to the main trail by the power lines. From here we headed north on Washboard and then Heartbreak Ridge trails. Washboard earns its name! The first part of the trail has several small roots running across the path. I could imagine this would be bumpy on a mountain bike! We picked up Heartbreak Ridge, which not only has some small obstacles in the trail, but also a few wooden bridge crossings.
A Smooth Finish
After returning to the main trail (around marker 17), we started heading back towards the parking lot. Our final side trail of the morning was a section of the Grandpa trail. This one was smooth and fast, and made for a nice final trail. We came out to the main trail one last time and finished the last mile back to the parking lot. Our total miles for this route were just under 8 miles.
The Hole-In-Fence trails are a great place to trail run! If you would like to download a pdf of the trail map above, you can get one here on the SWAMP website. And let me know if you run on the Techno Pig trail!