Little Manatee River - Hiking Nature Trail

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A 6.5 mile hiking trail is located in the north wilderness area in the park.  This stacked loop trail is accessible from US 301 N from the trailhead entrance on the north side of the Little Manatee River.  This rustic trail takes hikers through many of the unique natural communities in the park, including riverine hammock and floodplains, scrubby flatwoods, mature sand pine forests, and remnant sandhills.  The trail crosses Cypress Creek, a major tributary of the Little Manatee River, and the scenic point where the creek feeds into the river.  There are several points where the tall bluffs of the river bank offer picturesque overlooks along the Little Manatee River.  A primitive campsite is located 2.5 miles from the trailhead for hikers looking for a backpack hiking and overnight camping experience.  The primitive backpacking site can be reserved by calling the Ranger Station at 813-671-5005. 

A 0.8 mile Oxbow Nature Trail is accessible from the main picnic areas within the park.  This trail is the perfect length for a short stroll through the sand pine scrub.  The trail provides a great contrast between both upland and wetland communities, as the trail makes a ring around the outer ridge of an oxbow wetland and the scrubby upland river bluffs along the river.  Visit the trail in February to see the spectacular display of Fringe trees, one of the first trees to flower in early spring.

The Sandpine Trail is a network of trails that connect the main use areas of the park.  Comprised of 3 stacked loops and additional side trails, this trail has a total distance of over 2 miles.  The trail leads through a mix of sandpine and oak scrub and scrubby flatwoods.  Several old snags along these trails may offer a glimpse of one of the cavity nesters that live here, including a variety of woodpeckers, or possibly a screech owl. 

Over 15 miles of multi-use hiking and equestrian trails offer many more hiking opportunities at the park.  A huge network of narrow loop trails, and wide firebreaks crisscross the southern half of the park.  The primary trails within this multi-trail complex are:  the Dude Lake Trail, the Mustang Trail, the Blue Trail, and the Yellow Trail.  Firebreaks connect many of these primary trails to each other, and can provide alternate routes for hiking and exploration.  Ask for a map of the equestrian trails at the Ranger Station.     

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Little Manatee River State Park