Wilderness Park Overview

Tampa, Florida
Canoeing, mountain biking, road biking, fishing and more in six related parks.

Six separate area parks make up the county owned Wilderness Park conglomerate: Morris Bridge, Flatwoods, Sargeant, Dead River, Trout Creek and Veterans Memorial Park. Morris Bridge encompasses 106 acres, Trout Creek 42 acres and Flatwoods, the largest is at 5,400 acres. The area is composed mainly of pine flatwoods, hardwood floodplain forest, upland hardwood hammocks, oak scrub and cypress swamps.

Let's get one thing straight, in most places, the "big three" parks - Morris Bridge, Trout Creek and Flatwoods would be under one name. The fact that these three conjoined parks have three separate names can cause a good deal of confusion. In general, the word "Wilderness Park" or "Morris Bridge" are in reference to the large group of off-road trails in the lower Morris Bridge area across from Trout Creek Park's entrance. This area is known to local insiders as the "Hole in the Fence" trailhead. The word "Flatwoods" or "Flatwoods Loop Trail" is generally used in reference to the most prominent feature of this park, its paved multi-use loop trail. Due to the fact that there also are off-road trails in the park, discerning wether someone is referring to the off-road trails or the paved loop often requires further questioning.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the marvelous canoeing opportunities present on the Hillsborough River that passes through most of these parks. The Hillsborough River State Canoe Trail is one of the most interesting and picturesque in Florida and can be accessed at Morris Bridge and Trout Creek Parks. See our canoeing review for more information.

Hours are generally sunrise to sunset. Trails closures during the rainy season (summer) are a guarantee. Please keep the wilderness just that, and observe posted signs. See our individual reviews (right) for more information, maps, photos, video and more.

Six parks, some connecting, offer many opportunities for recreation.


Morris Bridge Park
Home to the vast majority of off-road trails, this area is often erroneously referred to as Wilderness Park.
Flatwoods Park paved trail
Flatwoods Park mountain bike trails
The northern most park of the six, Flatwoods is probably best known for its seven-mile paved loop track which is a favorite among Tampa's road bikers, skaters and joggers. A two-mile paved extension connects Bruce B. Downs Blvd., with Loop Road. Off-road trails that link to Morris Bridge and Trout Creek can also be found.
Trout Creek Park
This 42 acre site on the Hillsborough River is popular for fishing, canoeing and off-road biking. With nature board walks and plenty of picnic facilities, this park offers a lot more than just biking.
Dead River Park / Hillsborough River State Park
Situated at the confluence of Dead River and the Hillsborough River, this 21-acre park has a two-mile non-paved entrance road into the park that is a nice bike ride and can be easily ridden with the adjoining two-mile trail alongside the Hillsborough River that connects with more trails and a paved loop in Hillsborough River State Park.
John B. Sargeant Park
At the confluence of Flint Creek and the Hillsborough River Sargeant Park's 23 acres is know mostly for its boating access to the Hillsborough River State Canoe Trail. Although there are no biking trails currently in the park, future plans have the (planned as of 2004) Old Fort King multi-use Trail connecting Sargeant to Hillsborough River State Park with access to Dead River Park.
Overview Map (PDF)
Veterans Memorial Park
Included in the Wilderness Park umbrella, this little park isn't connected or even particularly close to the other parks. The park is more known for its military museum and its annual Civil War living history - not for its biking, There is however, a .75 mile paved trail with benches and shelters for walking,bicycling and skating. The trail goes south to Broadway. The park is located at 3602 US-301 and is open daily from 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Contact: Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation Department 813-744-5502
 
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