Hiking Events in Tampa Bay

With the new year literally right around the corner (hello 2022), I wanted to share some fun hiking events in Tampa Bay that are currently taking place! Regardless of your 2022 goals, these are events that can be fun for the entire family to get outside and explore the real Florida on foot.

My dog and I taking a selfie while hiking
Upper Tampa Bay Park – Eagle Trail

There are three fun hiking events in Tampa Bay to participate in right now.

  • Hillsborough County Hiking Spree
  • Pinellas County Winter Walk
  • Sarah’s Walking Club
Trail and small bridge at Alafia River State Park
Alafia River State Park – Old Agrico Trail

Hiking Events in Tampa Bay: Hillsborough County Hiking Spree 2022

The first hiking event in Tampa Bay is the Hillsborough County hiking spree which kicked off on November 1, 2021, but if you haven’t registered you still have plenty of time to join in on the fun. The annual event runs from November 1st to March 31st each year.

Otter Trail Hiking Spree Sign at Upper Tampa Bay Park
Upper Tampa Bay Park – Otter Trail

What is the hiking spree?

The hiking spree is a fun challenge put together by Hillsborough County to encourage people to enjoy the outdoors. There are a total of 22 designated hiking trails of various distances and difficulties to ensure everyone can participate. The goal is to visit at least 8 of the designated trails within the 5-month period. When you arrive at the park be on the lookout for the green hiking spree signs that mark the official trails.

How much does the hiking spree cost?

The best part about the hiking spree is it is completely FREE to register. You can even register your dog to participate with you! If you’ve never taken your dog hiking before, check out this post for some tips.

Some of the parks have a small entrance fee that you will need to pay to access the trail, but with over 20 different parks to choose from you can find 8 without an entrance fee if cost is a concern.

Lakee at Little Manatee River State Park
Little Manatee River State Park

What types of parks are included in the hiking spree?

There are several types of parks including neighborhood parks, conservation parks, nature preserves, and state parks. The parks are listed below.

Neighborhood Parks and Recreation

What to expect: Short, paved trails with water and restroom facilities

  • All People’s Life Center
    • All People’s Fitness Trail: 0.45 mile
  • Bertha and Tony Saladino Park
    • Sandhill Fitness Trail: 0.5 mile
  • Boyette Springs Park
    • Blackbird Fitness Trail: 0.75 mile
  • Ed Radice Sports Complex
    • Radice Fitness Park: 1.25 miles
  • Northdale Park
    • Owl Fitness Trail: 0.5 mile
  • Rodney Colson Park
    • Cougar Fitness Trail: 0.5 mile
  • Stephen J. Wortham Park
    • Bluestem Trail: 1.4 miles
Paved Trail and trees at Bertha and Tony Saladino Park
Bertha and Tony Saladino Park – Sandhill Fitness Trail

Conservation Parks

What to expect: Mid-range, well maintained paths and trails, some facilities

  • Alderman’s Ford Conservation Park
    • Picnic Trail: 1.9 miles
  • Edward Medard Conservation Park
    • Singing Bluffs: 1.25 miles
    • Levee Trail: 2.6 miles
  • Lake Conservation Park
    • Lake Vista Trail: 1.5 miles
  • Lettuce Lake Conservation Park
    • Hammock Run: 1.25 miles
    • Lettuce Lake Boardwalk: 0.75 miles
  • Upper Tampa Bay Conservation Park
    • Bobcat Trail: 0.4 mile
    • Otter Trail: 0.6 mile
    • Eagle Trail: 0.25 mile
Boardwalk at Lettuce Lake Park
Lettuce Lake Park – Boardwalk Trail

Nature Preserves

What to except: Variable conditions, no facilities

  • Alafia River Corridor South Preserve
    • Horseshoe Trail: 3 miles
  • Bahia Beach Nature Preserve
    • Wetland Walk: 1.4 miles
  • Bell Creek Nature Preserve
    • Snaggy Run: 5.36 miles
  • Blackwater Creek Nature Preserve
    • Creekview Trail: 4.36 miles
  • Lake Frances Nature Preserve
    • Pasture Pass: 4.5 miles
  • Lower Green Swamp Nature Preserve
    • Longleaf Loop: 5 miles

Florida State Parks/Others

What to expect: Variable conditions, longer trails, some facilities

  • Alafia River State Park
    • Old Agrico Hiking Trail: 1 mile
  • Hillsborough River State Park
    • Wetland Trail: 3.3 miles
  • Little Manatee River State Park
    • North Hiking Trail: 2.9 miles
  • Manatee Viewing Center
    • Tidal Walk: 2.5 miles
Old Agrico Hiking Trail sign at Alafia River State Park
Alafia River State Park – Old Agrico Trail

Where do I register for the hiking spree?

You can register for the hiking spree by clicking here.

Additionally, more information on the hiking spree can be found here, including trail/park maps and additional links to the park websites. A printable list of all the trails can be found here.

What do I do once I’ve completed the hiking spree?

Once you have completed at least 8 trails submit your completed form. You have three options to submit your form including online, by mail, or in person. Of note, delivery of your prize may take up to 45 days.

  • Online hiking completion form can be found here.
  • Mail your printed confirmation form and send to the below address
    • Bell Creek Administration Offices, Attn: Hiking Spree
      10940 McMullen Road, Riverview FL 33569
  • In person collection at the front desk during business hours
    • All People’s Life Center
    • Carrollwood Village Park
    • Gardenville Recreation Center
    • Jackson Springs Community Center
    • Roy Haynes Recreation Center
    • Ruskin Recreation Center
    • Westchase Recreation Center

When filling out your form you have the choice between a brass medallion or a patch!

Spanish moss trees in front of a lake at Edward Medard Trail
Edward Medard Park – Singing Bluffs Trail

Hiking Events in Tampa Bay: Pinellas County Winter Walk

The second hiking event in Tampa Bay is the Pinellas County Winter Walk. It is another fun hiking event in Tampa Bay which kicked off on December 1, 2021 and runs through April 30, 2022. This is the inaugural year for this event!

Sawgrass Lake Park Boardwalk trail
Sawgrass Lake Park – Maple Trail

What is the Pinellas County Winter Walk?

The Pinellas County Winter Walk was organized by Pinellas County to ensure residents were getting outside this winter and exploring some of Pinellas County’s best parks. The challenge is to complete at least 8 walks in the designated parks December through April.

It’s important to note that you don’t have to visit all the parks. You can complete multiple walks at the same location as long as a total of 8 walks are completed in the designated parks on different days.

How much does the Pinellas County Winter Walk cost?

Similar to the Hillsborough County hiking spree, there is no cost to participate in the Pinellas County Winter Walk! All you have to do is register online.

Holiday lights in the gardens at Florida Botanical Gardens at Christmas time
Florida Botanical Gardens – Holiday Lights in the Garden

What types of parks are included in the winter walk?

There is a total of 8 designated Pinellas County Parks.

  • Wall Springs Park
  • Brooker Creek Park
  • Eagle Lake Park
  • The Florida Botanical Gardens
  • John Taylor Park
  • Boca Ciega Millenium Park
  • Lake Seminole Park
  • Sawgrass Lake Park
Boardwalk signs at Sawgrass Lake Park
Sawgrass Lake Park – Boardwalk

Where do I register for the winter walk?

You can register online for the Pinellas County Winter Walk here. If you want to participate, be sure to register soon! Registration closes on January 15, 2022.

What do I do once I’ve completed the winter walk?

Once you have completed at least 8 walks in the designated parks send in your completed form via mail, e-mail, or online to receive your prize.

  • Mail: Attn: The Winter Walk 12520 Ulmerton Road Largo, Florida 33774
  • E-mail: pavolunteer@pinellascounty.org
  • Online hiking completion form can be found here

Hiking Events in Tampa Bay: Sarah’s Walking Club

The last hiking event in Tampa Bay I want to share is Sarah’s Walking Club! If you live in the Tampa Bay area and haven’t heard of this yet you don’t want to miss it! Sarah’s Walking Club was started in July 2020 by Sarah Phinney after visiting local parks and sharing new parks each week on ABC action news. A Facebook group was also created which now has almost 15,000 members!

Tree with many visible roots at Sacred Hill in Edward Medard Park
Edward Medard Park – Sacred Hills

What is Sarah’s Walking Club?

Sarah’s walking club is an online community of people sharing their love for the great outdoors! Members post their walking club adventures throughout Tampa Bay and beyond on Facebook daily. More than one post has inspired me to visit a new park including Sacred Hills at Edward Medard Park pictured above. Sarah also organizes various challenges for something fun for members to look forward to several times a year!

One of my favorite resources is Sarah’s walking club map which can be filtered by a variety of helpful settings (e.g., dog friendly, mostly shaded, etc.) depending on the type of park you are looking for. The map can be found here. The map also includes a link to each of her features about the park so you can learn more about the park before you visit. New parks are added over time!

A picture of me at the observation tower at Weedon Island
Weedon Island Nature Preserve – Observation Tower

Where can I join Sarah’s Walking Club?

One of the best places is to join her Facebook group here. Additionally, more information can be found here. Sarah also has an Instagram account @sarahswalkingclub. You can also subscribe to her newsletter here.

What type of challenges are there?

Sarah has challenged members with different things throughout the year. A couple examples from last year are a plant scavenger hunt and a summer challenge to visit 10 parks in 10-weeks. The next challenge kicks off January 1, 2022. The challenge is to walk 31 minutes for 31 days in January. This is a fun way to kick off the New Year!

Sarah also announced the February and March walking club challenge during a recent 30-minute walking club special. This will be a wildlife scavenger hunt similar to the plant scavenger hunt she hosted in the fall. The goal will be to find 10 of the 20 animals on the list. For those looking for an extra challenge some will be harder to find. More details will be announced as the challenge gets closer.

Hillsborough River
Hillsborough River State Park – River Rapids Trail

Final Thoughts on Hiking Events in Tampa Bay

I hope you found this post helpful with some fun hiking events in Tampa Bay that are currently ongoing. I have been a member of Sarah’s Walking Club for over 6 months, and I am currently participating in the Hillsborough Hiking Spree and Pinellas Winter Walk event. Are you currently participating in any of the events or planning to now? Let me know in the comments!

The information above was accurate at the time of publishing to the best of the author’s knowledge.

Looking for more hiking in the Tampa Bay area? Check out this post on Honeymoon Island State Park.

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