Florida has a lot of unexpected activities, for example, you might be surprised to learn that there are some amazing hikes in Tampa and the surrounding Bay Area! Florida has some of the best year-round weather, so you can enjoy these hikes whenever you are in need of some fresh air and exercise.
Hiking can be extremely beneficial to your overall well-being. Some of the health benefits attributed to hiking include lower stress levels, reduced risk of heart disease, and improved mood. So, not only is it a fun way to explore nature, but you are also increasing your quality of life.
Some of the hikes in Tampa are located on nature preserves, include rivers, and are dog-friendly. Hiking is a versatile activity that can be enjoyed solo, with a friend, or even with your entire family. It is a perfect way to disconnect from screens and reconnect with yourself or loved ones and is truly one of the best things to do in Tampa!
So, come with us and we will give you all of the important details! We will be sure to include what to expect, any fees for parking or entrance, and whether or not it is dog-friendly. Get ready to find your new favorite afternoon activity with one of our amazing hikes in Tampa!
12 Best Hikes In Tampa You Shouldn’t Miss
Eureka Springs Conservation Park
Eureka Springs Conservation Park was first created in 1938 by botanist Albert Greensburg as a botanical garden of rare and peculiar tropical plants. In 1967, Greensburg gifted his beloved site to Hillsborough County, which made Eureka Springs Park the only botanical garden in the county.
Plant lovers will adore the 31-acres, especially the largest publicly owned collection of ferns in Florida. You also won’t want to miss seeing the park’s rose garden and orchid room.
Eureka Springs Conservation Park has some of the best hikes in Tampa because they feature paved walking trails and the boardwalks that cut through a gorgeous green forest of maples, cypresses, and tupelo.
Some of the amenities include a greenhouse, shelters, picnic tables, restrooms, a party pavilion, and interpretive trails. It is dog friendly, so feel free to bring your furry friend as long as they are on the 6 foot leash.
The park is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on the weekends from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.. Admission is $2 per car.
Upper Tampa Bay Conservation Park
Upper Tampa Bay Conservation Park was founded in 1982 to ensure a safe area for nature study and community recreation. The park consists of 596 acres and is home to important coastal habitat and ecological groups.
You will find mangrove forests, freshwater marshes, coastal hammocks, salt marshes, and pine flatwoods. The Upper Tampa Bay Conservation Park is one of the most exciting hikes in Tampa because you have to opportunity to see gopher tortoises, bobcats, and zebra swallowtail butterflies.
If you’re lucky, you might also see red shouldered hawks, bald eagles, roseate spoonbills, ospreys, manatees, otters, bottle nosed dolphins, and alligators! Please note that you should never feed the wildlife you encounter, but you can enjoy taking lots of pictures.
Parks hours are from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily and admission is only $2 per vehicle. Amenities include picnic tables, restrooms, kayak and canoe rental, BBQ grills, and playgrounds. Leashed dogs are welcome.
Morris Bridge Park
Morris Bridge Park features one of the longest hikes in Tampa coming in at 14.4 miles long. It is a great spot to check out for those looking for a well-maintained long pathway that gives a very peaceful and secluded vibe.
Morris Bridge Park is popular with biking enthusiasts, but don’t let that deter you from visiting this amazing trail. The pathway is rather wide and provides ample space for all to enjoy it safely.
Some of the wildlife you might get to see includes butterflies, armadillos, snakes, turtles, frogs, and tons of birds. Daily hours are from sunrise until sunset and parking is $2 per car.
Dogs are welcome as long as they are leashed and the owners pick up after them. We highly recommend bug spray or long pants and sleeves as the area attracts mosquitos.
Lettuce Lake Park
Lettuce Lake Park consists of 240 acres of stunning Florida land that includes parts of the Hillsborough River. Plenty of opportunities for spotting wildlife including birds, bunnies, and alligators.
The park features large playgrounds and picnic areas. You can choose between the 1.25 mile paved exercise trail or the 1/2 mile boardwalk. Part of the boardwalk has an observation tower that offers some stunning views of the Hillsborough River.
In addition to hiking, you can also rent kayaks and canoes at the front entrance for moderate fee. Restrooms are conveniently found throughout the park.
Lettuce Lake Park makes our list of the best hikes in Tampa because most of the trails are partially shaded which makes it very comfortable and enjoyable during the extremely warm weather.
Operating hours during Summer and Spring are from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily. Fall and Winter hours are from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily. The entrance fee is $2 per vehicle and it is a leashed dog-friendly park.
Cypress Point Park
Do you love the beach? If so, then you will absolutely want to check out Cypress Point Park! It is one of the best hikes in Tampa for amazing beach views.
You can expect to find two partially shaded hiking trails that offer beautiful nature and wildlife scenery. One trail is pave and the other is not, but they wind throughout the park and connect at certain points.
In addition to excellent Florida beach style hiking, you can enjoy the playground with a beach view, disc golf course, picnic shelters, and sand volleyball court.
The park hours are from sunrise to sunset daily. There is no entrance fee, but there might be a small parking fee depending on where you find a spot. Dogs are not allowed on the beach.
Flatwoods Park Trail
Flatwoods Park Trail is not only one of the best hikes in Tampa but is it also a great trail for skating, cycling, and jogging. The trail is 7 miles in length and is fully paved which creates a very smooth and safe hike.
During your hike, you might get to see armadillos, turtles, hawks, and maybe even a deer. We highly suggest sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses as this trail is very open with little to no shade.
Throughout the 7 mile long trail loop you will find several places to stop that include restrooms, water stations, grills, and picnic tables. Rangers patrol the trail frequently to ensure safety.
It is leashed dog-friendly and open from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily. The parking fee is $2 per car.
Al Lopez Park
Al Lopez Park features a woodsy 1.2-mile paved trail that is looped. Along the trail, you will find restrooms, picnic shelters, BBQ grills, fishing piers, two ponds, a community center, fitness stations, and a dog park.
Al Lopez Park is one of the best hikes in Tampa for those that want to bring their kids along. You will find a wonderful playground that will serve as a great spot for your kids to let out some energy and break up the hike.
Admission is free and the daily hours are from sunrise to sunset. There are tons of large trees all throughout the park, so it is very easy to find shade on hot days.
The park contains several ponds and lakes that are great for spotting alligators, turtles, and egrets. Make sure to bring a camera along on your hike to capture all of the beautiful Florida wildlife.
Rocky Creek Trails Nature Preserve
Rocky Creek Trails Nature Preserve is one the hikes in Tampa that is great for beginner hikers or people with limited energy as it is a short trail. The trail is a half mile in total length and it gets a lot of traffic.
The trail is well-maintained and consists of both unpaved and boardwalk areas. Rocky Creek Trails Nature Preserve is well known for bird watching and pretty wildflowers.
The entrance fee is $2 per vehicle and pets are welcome. Bikes are not allowed on this trail, so you don’t have to worry about fast traffic. Daily operating hours are from sunrise to sunset.
Hillsborough River State Park
Now, we visit one of the historic site hikes in Tampa. The Hillsborough River State Park is home to Fort Foster which was utilized during the second Seminole war. It is truly one of the Best Hikes In Florida you must see!
The park features four different hiking trails that total 7.3 miles. The trails guide hikers through lush hydric hammock forest. Elevation changes are found throughout the trail and as well as interpretive displays.
The Wetlands Trail has a diverse variety of flora and fauna. If you pay close attention, you might be able to spot the rare Blazing Star flower that has pink and purple petals; a favorite for monarch butterflies and hummingbirds.
It is common to see hawks, eagles, bobcats, and songbirds while hiking at the Hillsborough River State Park. The park is open from sunrise until sunset and the entrance fee is $6 per vehicle.
Brooker Creek Preserve
The Brooker Creek Preserve has almost 5 miles worth of boardwalk hikes in Tampa. The Uplands Trail winds through pine flatwoods and oak hammocks.
The preserve is actually located slightly outside of Tampa in Tarpon Springs. Looking for something else to do before or after your hike? If so, you should absolutely check out these 12 Fun Things To Do In Tarpon Springs!
During your hike you might see burned brush, but don’t be concerned because this is evidence of prescribed fires. Definitely stay alert and have your camera ready as you might see deer, gopher tortises, and turkeys.
If you are an experienced hiker, you won’t want to miss checking out the Pine Needle Path Loop Trail. It is 4 miles long and take you through pine flatwoods, forested wetlands, cypress swamps, and you will cross a channel of the Brooker Creek.
Pets and bikes are not allowed within Brooker Creek Preserve. Operating hours are from 7 a.m. until one hour prior to sunset daily. And admission is free!
Channel Park Trailhead
Channel Park Trailhead is a very active hiking spot, so you never feel too secluded or alone. The trail is well paved and perfect for solo hikers that like a populated hiking experience.
It makes our list of best hikes in Tampa because of its wide open spaces, miles of hiking opportunities, and water stations. Restrooms are easily accessible and found along the trail.
Amenities include BBQ grills, picnic shelters, and playgrounds. The parking fee is $2 per vehicle and it is open from sunrise until sunset.
Cypress Creek Preserve
The Cypress Creek Nature Preserve consists of 2,500 acres that extends into Pasco and Polk Counties. The preserve habitat includes hardwood forests, pine flatwoods, swamps, wet prairies, freshwater marshes, and cypress stands.
The hiking trail is 4.7 miles long and primarily used by bird watchers and hiking enthusiasts. Definitely one of the most authentic natural Florida hikes in Tampa as it is mostly untouched or revised by man.
You can expect to find some shaded areas, but it is mostly full sun. We suggest wearing boots or waterproof shoes as the area can be a bit muddy and wet in some spots.
Daily hours are from sunrise to sunset and pets are welcome. No fees for parking or entrance to the preserve. If you are planning on staying in the Tampa Bay Area for a few days, here are the 19 Best Days Trips From Tampa Worth The Effort!
Well, we hope you have enjoyed touring all of these amazing hikes in Tampa. Remember to dress comfortably, wear sunscreen, bring a hat and sunglasses, and fully charge your phone. Oh and definitely bring your camera so you can capture all of the natural Florida beauty and have lasting memories of your hikes in Tampa.