Fall in Florida brings cooler, drier air, which is a perfect combination for getting outside. This year, make a plan to participate in Hillsborough County’s annual Hiking Spree. The Hiking Spree began on November 1 and runs through March 31, 2024. You can find information on the Hiking Spree and complete your registration to participate by visiting www.hcflgov.net/hikingspree.
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 2023-24 Hiking Spree trail list features 25 trails. If you hike at least eight of the 25 trails between now and the end of March 2024, you can earn a patch, a medallion for a walking stick or a pet bandana. One of the hikes can be at a location anywhere on Earth.
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 J.C. Handly Sports Complex in Brandon, to large preserves with multiple habitats, like Edward Medard Conservation Park in Plant City, to Florida State Parks, like the Hillsborough River State Park in Thonotosassa.
Participants are encouraged to post photos from their hikes using the hashtag #TakeAHikeHC.”
There are a total 22 neighborhood parks, conservation parks, nature preserves and state parks on this year’s list. The list includes several local destinations, including Bullfrog Creek Wildlife and Environmental Area in Wimauma, FishHawk Sports Complex in Lithia, Lakeview Village Park in Brandon, Stephen J. Wortham Park in Riverview and Alderman’s Ford Conservation Park in Plant City.
The list of trails is higher because some locations have more than one trail.
I have had the privilege to participate and complete the Hiking Spree for the last few years. It is something I look forward to each year. Hillsborough County is large, diverse and beautiful, and the Hiking Spree provides an opportunity for everyone to get out there and experience the beautiful area we all call home.
Please visit www.hcflgov.net/hikingspree to register and participate.