"Discover Your Own Path" and Hit the Trail During Hillsborough Hiking Spree
"Discover Your Own Path!" and participate in the Hillsborough County Hiking Spree, which begins Wednesday, Nov. 1. In its eighth year, the Hiking Spree offers residents another year of fun and exploration in local parks and preserves.
This year's Hiking Spree includes a kickoff hike and activities at Edward Medard Conservation Park on Saturday, Nov. 4. The Hiking Spree kickoff event will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and include guided hikes, workshops on topics such as orienteering, and how to make your own hiking sticks and trail mix, along with Hiking Spree merchandise and giveaways. Edward Medard Conservation Park is at 6140 Turkey Creek Rd., Plant City, FL 33567. The event is free, but registration is encouraged.
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 draws thousands of participants each year.
Registration begins Nov. 1 at HCFLGov.net/HikingSpree. This year's Hiking Spree trail list features 25 trails at 22 parks and preserves throughout the county. This includes three new trails located at Northwest Equestrian Park, Bullfrog Creek Wildlife and Environmental Area, and J.C. Handly Sports Complex. Complete at least eight between Nov. 1 and March 31, 2024, to earn a limited-edition patch featuring a roseate spoonbill, medallion for a walking stick, or pet bandana. One of the hikes can be at a location of the participant's choice that is not on the list.
There are a number of events during this year's hiking spree, including:
- A guided hike will be held at the J.C. Handly Sports Complex on Nov. 18 that is tailored for Pokemon Go enthusiasts.
- Audubon Volunteer Dr. Mary Keith will lead a slow-paced walk on Nov. 12 through Lettuce Lake Park while seeking out our favorite feathered friends, such as woodpeckers and spoonbills.
- Audubon Volunteer Dr. Mary Keith will lead a walk on Nov. 25 through Alderman's Ford Conservation Park in seacrh of all kinds of birds.
- Other special planned activities over the next few months, such as bird hikes and full moon hikes.
The environmentally diverse sites are spread throughout the county and range from neighborhood parks to large preserves with multiple habitats. The trails are designed to offer something for residents of any age or ability, with hikes rated easy, moderate, or strenuous. Lengths range from 8 miles to less than a mile, and a number of trails are perfect for wheelchair users or those with accessibility needs. Residents are encouraged to bring their leashed dogs on the hikes.
The Hiking Spree is timed to take advantage of the cooler, drier weather and to coincide with prime bird-watching season. Hikers are encouraged to post photos from their hikes using the hashtag #TakeAHikeHC.