Lower Hillsborough Wilderness Preserve – Tampa

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Lower Hillsborough Wilderness Preserve

dogfriendly-iconparking-iconno-water-iconhiking-iconcamping-icon

Oak Ridge Equestrian Area
15847 Morris Bridge Road
Thonotosassa, FL 33592
1-800-423-1476 (FL only)
GPS: 28.148571, -82.265553
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THE NORTHEAST CORNER OF THIS PROPERTY IS THE SITE OF THE OAK RIDGE EQUESTRIAN AREA. WHILE STILL RURAL, THIS REGION OF HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY IS TRANSITIONING TO SUBURBAN SUBDIVISIONS. THE TRAIL IS SHADED WITHIN A FORESTED WETLAND AND OPEN THROUGH PINE FLATWOODS.

lower hillsborough wildlife preserve firepitQuiet campground and a perfect base to explore the Tampa Bay area. You can do shopping or spend the day on a Clearwater beach, eat out in a local restaurant and still be back in time to spend a couple of hours around the campfire.
It has 3-5 campsites, spread out over a large area with lots of trees. T-mobile reception is 2 bars 3G and some road noise can be heard and an occasional plane, but neither is bothersome.
It’s a dog friendly park, but your pet must stay on a leash and you have to pick up after him.
The only drawback is the campground reservation system; reserving on-line is easy, but it takes a few business days for you to receive the confirmation email with the number of the access lock.

Camping
After passing through the gate, you drive less than one mile on a well-maintained limestone road to the camping area, a grassy area with many tall, long-leaf pines.
It is far from optimal for solar setups, but you may catch a few solar rays when you stay close to the road, that has much needed southern exposure.
A clean area with a porto-potti and a water pump (non-potable) are available, but no garbage collection. A small pavilion for group camping, 5 picnic tables and several fire pits.

Hiking
trailmap14 miles of hiking trails which you have to share occasionally with horses. A good 1hr hike leads thru one of Florida’s typical habitats to a beautiful view of the Hillsborough river. Here, the sun rises behind the trees and its rays reflect on the water. Alligators hide between the floating weeds and the morning fog slowly disappears. The trails are very well marked and a free trail map is found at the entrance.
Activity of wild hogs is visible along the trails, where large areas sometimes are dug up. The remnants of controlled fires can be seen where the bark of trees has blackened and new bushes have sprung up. Some trails, during parts of the years, can be wet and muddy.

Oak Ridge Overview

fees-iconFree entry
dogfriendly-iconPets must be on a leash and pick up after them
camping-iconPrimitive camping available. Sites have picnic tables, fire rings and/or grills. Portable toilets and nonpotable water available at campground. Free reservations may be made at WaterMatters.org/Reservation.
hiking-iconApproximately 14 miles of multiuse trails. Prepare for wet hiking; some trails are excessively wet during certain times of the year
direction-iconFrom I-4 & I-75, noth on I-75. 5 Miles north on I-75. 8 Miles east on Morris bridge Rd. Right onto the parking area. Continue 0.75 mile tthrough the gate to the campground.

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