- Hillsborough River State Park 9 miles north of Fowler Avenue on US 301.
- Dead River Park 7.5 miles north of Fowler Avenue on US 301.
- John B. Sargeant, Sr. Memorial Park 3.5 miles north of Fowler Avenue on US 301.
- Morris Bridge Park 5 miles east of I-75 (Exit 55, Fletcher Avenue) on Morris Bridge Road.
- Trout Creek Park .05 mile east of I-75 (Exit 55, Fletcher Avenue) on Morris Bridge Road.
- Rotary Park 0.2 miles west of I-75 on Fowler Avenue.
- Riverhills Park 1 mile east of 56th Street on Riverhills Drive in Temple Terrace.
- Rowlett Park From I-275, take Busch Blvd (Exit 33) east to N 22nd Street. Take a right (south) and look for park.
There may be access points (both public and private) in addition to those listed here. Please remember that some sites may require a fee for launching and/or parking.
Activities in the wilderness area: Canoeing, fishing, hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, bird watching, photography, picnicking, and seasonal swimming in an ADA accessible manmade swimming pool at Hillsborough River State Park.
Admission: None - if you own your own kayak or canoe. Several outfitters exist who will provide you with a canoe or kayak as well as transportation. Rates range from $16 to $32 per person depending on the trip.
Hillsborough River State Park opened to the public in 1938. The wilderness area encompasses 3,950acres and has four parks: Sargeant, Morris Bridge, Trout Creek, and Rotary.
The Hillsborough River flows 54 miles from its head waters in the Green Swamp to its mouth in Hillsborough Bay, a portion of Tampa Bay, Florida's largest openwater estuary. The watershed extends over parts of three counties, Hillsborough, Pasco, and Polk. From nearly pristine conditions, the river winds its way to Tampa Bay through rural, suburban, and urban settings. For the most part the Hillsborough is what is known as a dark or black water river. The upper 31 miles of the river from Crystal Springs in Pasco County to Riverhills Park in Temple Terrace are an official Florida Canoe Trail. You can put-in at numerous locations along the Hillsborough River and paddling either direction is easy as the current is usually slow.
The Hillsborough River is enjoyed by paddlers, birders, fisherman, photographers, hikers, and others at the wealth of parks that are located along its banks. The Hillsborough River has been favorably compared to the Amazon and the Florida Everglades as one of the great places to view wildlife. The four parks along the river provide picnic areas, restrooms, and access for paddling as well as three additional sites for either on or offroad bicycling and horseback riding. The Hillsborough River was chosen by Canoe & Kayak Magazine as one of "North America's Best Close to Home Paddling Adventures." (May 1995)
The most popular routes to paddle on the Hillsborough River are commonly divided into four segments totalling 14 miles one-way. The entire trip requires requires a complete day of paddling as the Hillsborough is a slow moving river. You can however, paddle sections individually. An entire trip will require leaving a shuttle vehicle at Rotary Park located at Fowler Avenue and Morris Bridge Road. Proceed east for one mile on Fowler Avenue until you reach US 301. Turn north (left) and go approximately 6 miles to Sargeant Park. Another option is to use Canoe Escapes as a shuttle for your canoe. In addition to renting canoes, they are also happy to portage your canoe for a small fee.
Sargeant Park to Morris Bridge Park - 2 hours paddling time 4 miles
Morris Bridge Park to Trout Creek Park - 2 hours paddling time 4 miles
Trout Creek Park has restrooms, picnic tables and a canoe wash.
Trout Creek Park to Lettuce Lake Park - 2 - 3 hours paddling time3 miles
Lettuce Lake Park has picnic shelters about 300 yards down river from the Observation Tower. A nature center, restrooms and trail/boardwalk are close by. On the west bank of the river is the University of South Florida River Park. The University offers canoe and kayak rentals for students and facility.
Lettuce Lake Park to Rotary Park - 2 hours paddling time 2.5 miles
The final 2.5 miles of the tour from Lettuce Lake to Rotary Park is developed with housing on both sides of the river. Rotary Park's take out is located immediately upriver of the bridge on Fowler Avenue. The park has restrooms, picnic tables and a concrete boat ramp.