Hiking on Hillsborough River State Park
Photo and Story by Bonnie Sheppard

Dead River Road and the Hillsborough River…

Where Nature Plays

About Dead River Park

Situated at the confluence of Dead River and the Hillsborough River, this park is a pleasant place of just 21 acres to unwind. Nature lovers appreciate a scenic two-mile low traffic trail alongside the Hillsborough River that actually can continue directly into the Hillsborough River State Park.  Other recreational opportunities include great fishing, a kayak and canoe boat ramp area.

On the trail you will find a lot of the REAL Florida including large gorgeous oak trees, tall pine trees, a nice variety of colorful wildflowers.  Woodpeckers and cardinals seem to frequent the area.  The trail also showed signs of wild hog and deer track so these would be most likely seen in the early morning or late evening hikes.

There is an opportunity to ride your bike down the single land Dead River Road which is covered with a canopy of trees and consist of a dirt road that could be used as a beautiful bike path as long as the rain stays away.

This area is also on the western section of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail.

Primitive camping is also available with some picnic areas. Campsite available to youth groups by reservation only. Minimum of 6 and maximum of 30 campers are allowed. Groups must have their own insurance. There is a  0.25-mile hiking trail for use by campers located adjacent to campground where bathhouse and picnic facilities provided.

 Canoe launch is a short portage from parking area.  Visitors can canoe landing upstream one mile at old Reagan home site.  The Hillsborough River State Park is located further upstream.

Downstream is Seventeen Runs. This portion of Hillsborough River State Canoe Trail is designated as a primitive trail. Experienced paddlers only. Deadfall obstacles are frequent, dry ground for rest breaks is hard to find and the many forking channels can easily disorient paddlers. Pay close attention to flow of river and look for trail markers.  The park is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for bicycles and pedestrian access.  Vehicle access is available on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Dead River Park:

15098 Dead River Road
Thonotosassa, FL 33592
(Google map)

For the Gallery of Pictures Taken on this trail click here.




For other great parks in our Destination Tampa Bay area consider reviewing these locations:

Myakka State Park

Manatee River State Park

Hillsborough River State Park

Boyd Hill Nature Preserve

And mark your calendars for the Birding and Nature Festival