Summer is way too hot for hiking. But I love writing about it, so for today, I’m taking something out of the goodie bag–a hike I did last winter with the family. Complete with lots of pictures that I believe really capture uniquely Florida landscapes.
Getting There: The trailhead is located along Morris Bridge Road, in the interior Tampa Bay area, and is part of Wilderness Park. To get there, take I-75 and get off on exit 266 (Fletcher Ave). Go east on Morris Bridge Road for 3.7 miles to Morris Bridge Park. The Bald Cypress Trail trailhead will be on the right side (south of) the road. The hike is about 1.5 miles.
You’ll know you’re at the right trailhead when you see this sign:
As seen from the map above, the hike hugs the Hillsborough River and then loops around. You can walk in either direction. I suggest starting with the river trail. It was filled with wildlife and postcard beauty.
My son loved to play at the waterside and throw sticks into it. Probably his favorite part of the hike.
My wife and kid contemplate the river…
There were a lot of cypress knees along the way. Nobody is 100% sure of their purpose. Early Spanish explorers thought they were baby cypress trees. Today’s scientists think it might have something to do with gathering nutrients.
The river overlook was very cool. A wooden platform that gives panoramic views of the area. Several hikers were there and a pair of nature photographers were using it to capture scenic images of the wildlife. It felt we were a million miles away from civilization.
The backend of the hike went along the path of an old railroad grade and sat above the water. Branches hung over the open, quick trail. Just imagine a train riding through these woods in the days of Old Florida. Pretty amazing, I think.
For more information on hiking through Tampa Bay, I’d recommend checking out Best Easy Day Hikes Tampa Bay (Best Easy Day Hikes Series) by Johnny Molloy.
Remember, hiking season is only about a month and a half away! See you on the trail!