The 2022-23 Hillsborough County Hiking Spree is here. The Hiking Spree begins on Tuesday, November 1 and runs through March 31, 2023.
The annual Hiking Spree began in 2016 as a way to encourage people to exercise, explore the outdoors and experience nature by visiting the many beautiful parks and preserves located in Hillsborough County. The Hiking Spree has grown in popularity each year and now draws thousands of participants.
This year’s Hiking Spree trail list features 26 trails. If you hike at least eight of the 26 trails between now and the end of March 2023, you can earn a patch, a medallion for a walking stick or a pet bandana. One of the hikes can be at a location of your choice that is not on the list.
Residents are encouraged to bring their leashed dogs on the hikes.
The trails are designed to offer something for everyone, from hiking rookies to seasoned outdoor enthusiasts, with hikes rated easy, moderate or strenuous. Hikes range in length from 5 miles to less than a mile. The environmentally diverse sites are spread throughout the county and range from neighborhood parks like Dover District Neighborhood Park to large preserves with multiple habitats like Edward Medard Conservation Park. This year’s list has three state parks, including for the first time Egmont Key State Park, which is only accessible by boat.
According to Brad Lympany, recreation program supervisor with Hillsborough County Parks & Recreation, “The Hiking Spree is timed to take advantage of the cooler, drier weather and to coincide with prime bird-watching season. Participants are encouraged to post photos from their hikes using the hashtag #TakeAHikeHC.”
There are 24 parks on this year’s list. The list includes several local destinations, such as Edward Medard Conservation Park, Veterans Memorial Park and Museum, Balm Boyette Nature Preserve, FishHawk Creek Nature Preserve, Dover District Neighborhood Park, Ruskin Park & Recreation Center and Stephen J. Wortham Park.
The list of trails is higher because two of the parks each have two eligible trails.
Having completed the Hiking Spree for the last few years, I can tell you that it is a delightful way to see and experience all the beautiful nature that Hillsborough County has to offer.
You can find information on the Hiking Spree and register to participate by visiting www.hcflgov.net/hikingspree.