Lace Up Your Hiking Boots (or Tennis Shoes) and Take to the Trails
After record-breaking participation last fall and winter, the Hillsborough County Hiking Spree begins today, offering residents another year of fun and exploration in local parks and preserves.
The annual Hiking Spree began in 2016 to encourage people to exercise, explore the outdoors, and experience nature through the numerous parks and preserves in Hillsborough County. The Hiking Spree has grown in popularity each year, drawing thousands of participants. More than 5,500 people registered for the 2020-2021 Hiking Spree.
This year's Hiking Spree trail list features 26 trails at 22 locations throughout the county. Complete at least eight trails between Nov. 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022 to earn a patch, a medallion for a walking stick, or a pet bandana. One of the hikes can be at a location of the participant's choice that is not on the list.
Residents are encouraged to bring their leashed dogs on the hikes; more than 2,000 people registered their dogs for last year's Hiking Spree.
The trails are designed to offer something for everyone, from hiking rookies to seasoned outdoor enthusiasts, with hikes rated easy, moderate, or strenuous. Lengths range from 5 miles to less than a mile. The environmentally diverse sites are spread throughout the county and range from neighborhood parks like Northdale Park to large preserves with multiple habitats like Edward Medard Conservation Park. This year's list includes three state parks and, for the first time, the preserve at the Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach. Additionally, most trails at neighborhood parks are ADA-accessible.
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.
For more information and to register, visit HCFLGov.net/HikingSpree.