Paddle the Hillsborough River Wilderness Preserve

Added by Stephanie Windschill

See Florida's unique and abundant wildlife on a leisurely stroll down the river. Around every corner you'll find something new and beautiful from an array of different birds to alligators and turtles sharing a log!

Start at John B Sargeant State Park--they do have a $2 parking fee. There is a canoe rental and shuttle service on site called Canoe Escape. They do have kayaks as well. If you own your own canoe you can pay for the shuttle service to pick you up at the end if you choose not to paddle out and back.

There are a few routes to take:

  • Sargeant Park to Morris Bridge Park: 2 hour paddle
  • Sargeant Park to Trout Creek: 4 hour paddle
  • Sargeant Park to Rotary Park: 6 hour Paddle

Mix and match any of those locations if you want or you can paddle out and back and not rely on any shuttle service.

We saw most of the wildlife on the Sargeant to Morris section of the river. Once you get on the river at Sargeant you will come to a fork in the river. Go right into a bay, you'll see many alligators sunbathing and swimming. You'll then turn around and make your way down the river.

You'll see many different species of wildlife in their natural habitat. You'll see alligators, turtles, white ibis, pink ibis, anhinga, little blue heron, limpkin and much more.

Note: Follow the Orange flags to determine which way to go. We got stuck on some shallow areas and came close to having to portage.

Read More

Tags

Chillin
Fishing
Photography
Kayaking
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area
River
Scenic
Wildlife

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Best Kayak Trip Yet!

Impeccable! Wildlife such as gators, turtles, and birds around each corner!! Some obstacles along the way that make this river trek exciting and adventurous.

Stay Nearby

Tampa, Florida

Updated Bungalow | Fenced Backyard With Gas Grill

• TurnKey photo-verifies this home is professionally cleaned with products approved by the EPA for use against COVID-19. •Discover comfort and convenience at this sparkling 3BR/2BA home, located in...

From $80/night

Tampa, Florida

Updated Bungalow & Casita With Fenced Backyard

• TurnKey photo-verifies this home is professionally cleaned with products approved by the EPA for use against COVID-19. •Comprised of a 3BR/2BA main house and a detached 1BR casita, this 4BR/3BA p...

From $100/night

Tampa, Florida

Cozy Casita | Fenced Yard With Gas Grill & Firepit

• TurnKey photo-verifies this home is professionally cleaned with products approved by the EPA for use against COVID-19. •Discover the best of The Big Guava from this quaint 1BR casita, set in a pe...

From $30/night

Tampa, Florida

Lovely Old Seminole Heights Home With Grill & Deck

• TurnKey photo-verifies this home is professionally cleaned with products approved by the EPA for use against COVID-19. • Nestled in Old Seminole Heights, this lovely 3BR/2BA home features a compl...

From $115/night

Nearby Adventures

  • Take a Stroll through Eureka Springs Park

    Located just 10 miles from downtown Tampa right off I-4, this short trail runs through a 31-acre botanical garden.  The park has a variety of exotic plans, ferns, flowers and plants as well as a 0.3 mile boardwalk through cypress, maple and oak tr...

    0.3 miles

  • Hike Little Manatee River Loop

    This 6.5 mile trailhead is actually located outside the main entrance, just north of the river off of US 301 S.  The park charges a $4 entrance fee and it is recommended that you enter the main park to use restrooms and/or refill water bottles as ...

    6.5 miles

  • Bike the Clearwater Causeways

    We started near the Bellair Golf Course and went south. When you go along the golf course, watch for pikas, coyotes, and fox.  It is a good idea to head South first, so that the winds propel you forward in the second half of your ride. We went dow...

    15.44 miles 325 ft gain

  • Photograph a Gulf Coast Sunset at Clearwater Beach

    If you find yourself near the Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg areas, I highly recommend taking a trip out to Clearwater Beach. On Clearwater Beach, you'll find sand softer than anything your feet have ever felt, lots of places to relax, great food, good...

  • Escape to the Sunshine

    VISIT FLORIDA, serves as Florida's official source for travel planning. What can be discovered beyond Florida’s 825 miles of beaches? How about 320 freshwater springs, 175 state parks, infinite mangrove tunnels and hidden caverns. Let your adventure begin. Follow Your Sunshine.

    Learn More