The Trails at Terra Ceia

A view of a water fowl walking through the water.

Terra Ceia Preserve State Park provides visitors and residents of Florida’s second largest metropolitan area access to quality outdoor recreation, including paddling trails adjacent to old growth mangrove forests and snorkeling over submarine meadows and sponge communities.

Less than an hour from Tampa, this surprisingly wild park features a mosaic of mangrove swamps, creeks, estuaries and wetlands. The park features a network of unpaved recreational trails, as well as access to paddling trails. Trails offer terrific opportunities for wildlife-viewing, exploring and fitness in a natural Florida environment.

The park’s Hightower Trail System has three segments totaling 6 miles. The pine flatwood loops trail has orange blazes that guide you through open pine forests on the west side of the park. The hammock loop, or blue trail, traverses denser, wetter habitat on the east side of the park. For walkers and hikers who want to get close to the Gulf of Mexico, the salt flat spur, or white trail, is a direct path to the coastal wetlands and marshes that line the park’s northern edge.

To access the park’s unpaved recreational trails, park at the trailhead at the end of Hightower Road. A trail kiosk with a map is available at the trailhead.

For information about paddling trails in Manatee County, contact Paddle Manatee to request a free blueways and trails guide.