Paddle the Hillsborough River Wilderness Preserve

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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.

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

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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.

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5.0/5

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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