Welcome to Hillsborough River State Park, where history and nature come together in a few fantastic ways. Our history goes back to the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1936, when they stumbled on this piece of land that hid away one of the only Class II rapids in the state. The park opened in 1938, after the Corps’ foresight to protect this rare feature, showcasing it to millions of visitors...
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Hillsborough River - Bicycling
Bicyclists are invited to ride on the 1.6 mile, Wetlands Restoration Nature Trail, as well as the 2.2 mile, Park Loop. Helmets are highly recommended for all cyclists and Florida law requires helmets for cyclists age 16 and under.
The Ride of Your Life - THE SURREY, reminiscent of early automobiles at the beginning of the 20th century. Surrey bikes provide families and friends with the ability to leisurely enjoy the park. Our entire fleet is designed for fun. We offer a fleet of vehicles so cool; you'll want to stay all day! Try a Surrey with a fringe on top or one of our regular bicycles.
- Regular bikes $10.00 an hour-1/2 day rental $20.00 plus tax—all day $25.00 plus tax.
- 2 person Surreys $ 25.00 plus tax an hour.
- 4 person Surreys $35.00 plus tax an hour.
Hillsborough River - Campfire Circles
A gathering place for Saturday evening campfire programs presented by park staff.
Contact Ranger Station for next scheduled program topic and meeting time.
Hillsborough River - Camping
Hillsborough River State Park offers RV and tent camping with electric on most of the campsites in this 112 site campground. Each site is equipped with water, a fire ring and picnic table. Each loop has restrooms with hot showers and laundry facilities. The campground offers a dump station for your convenience. Shopping for basic food items and merchandise is available at the park's concession. Pets are welcome, but must be confined, leashed (up to six feet in length), or otherwise under the physical control at all times.
Picnic areas, pavilions, several playgrounds, the Pool Side Café and Gift Shop, and an ADA-accessible, half-acre swimming pool, are located within the park. Many trails offer visitors the opportunity to experience the park's natural beauty. A popular trail is the Rapids Nature Trail. It meanders through oak hammocks to the edge of the Hillsborough River at the point where an outcropping of limestone rocks has created rapids. This area is a popular spot for photographers and outdoor enthusiasts. The park offers canoe rentals for visitor's convenience.
Maximum RV length = 50 ft.
Hammocks are allowed to be used in certain campsites. Sites 41, 61, 110, and 111, allow one (1) hammock each, while sites 68 and 70 allow two (2) hammocks each. Set-up requires the use of straps at least 2 inches wide on trees at least 12 inches in diameter.
Reservations: Reservations may be made up to 11 months in advance through ReserveAmerica. Book Online or call: (800) 326-3521 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.), or TDD (888) 433-0287.
Hillsborough River - Camping Primitive
A primitive camp, located across the river is available via foot trail. Backpackers must check in and out at the ranger station before hiking 1.5 miles to the camping area. At least one person 18 years of age or older must accompany the party. Campers should pack in and pack out all necessities and remove all trash. A map of hiking trails and the primitive campsite is available at the park office.
Call the park at: (813) 987-6771, to make reservations. Call 24 hrs. prior to reservation to receive updated trail conditions.
Check-In: No later than 1 hour prior to sunset.
Hammocks are allowed to be used in the primitive camping area in sites C and D (2 hammocks each).
No pets are allowed at the primitive camp.
Note: As a primitive camp, the sites have no electric, no water, and no restrooms. It is advisable to bring 4 quarts of drinking water, per person, per day. Trails are subject to flooding and may cause the temporary closure of the primitive camp.
Hillsborough River - Camping, Primitive Grp
Group primitive camping is available for organized youth or adult groups, defined as six or more persons affiliated with a recognized non-profit or community organization such as, Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs, Sierra Club, or church groups. Priority is given to youth groups with over half its members under 18 years of age. The camp accommodates up to 60 people at one time. Fees are Youth: (up to 18 years of age) $1 per person, per night. Adult: $5 per person, per night. Four camping areas are set in a wooded area, offering shade as well as beauty. All four sites are shaded and have water, picnic tables, grills, a fire ring, and restrooms with cold showers. Organizations must be under the sponsorship of a recognized entity for a particular outing. Adult supervision is required. Pets are not allowed in this ecologically sensitive area. There is no electricity.
Reservations can be made for groups up to 60 days in advance. Adult groups may use this camp when it is not being used by a youth group. Call the park at: (813) 987-6771, to make reservations. A $22.40 deposit is required for all reservations and will be applied to the final balance.
Hammocks are allowed to be used in the Youth Camp area. Site "C" allows one (1) hammock, and sites "A", "B", and "D" allow two (2) hammocks, each.
PLEASE NOTE: No deposit refunds will be given within 14 days of reservation.
Hillsborough River - Canoeing and Kayaking
Canoeing is a popular activity in the park. Visitors may bring their own canoe or rent one at the park.
Canoe rental fees:
- Minimum of two hours for $25.00 per canoe, plus tax
- Three hours for $35.00, plus tax four hours $40.00, plus tax
- All day $50.00, plus tax
Kayaks: $15.00 an hour, plus tax.
Hours for canoes rentals can be obtained by contacting the Hillsborough Park Pool Side Cafe at: (813) 986-3322; or by visiting their website.
Please note: All rentals are to be back prior to concession closing hours.
Hillsborough River - Concession and Restaurant
Canoes and bicycles are available for rent at the Pool Side Café. The café also provides food, beverages, picnic/camping supplies and souvenirs.
For those who wish to relax poolside, the concession provides high-quality custom umbrellas and pool lounge chairs for rent. Rental prices for one umbrella and two lounge chairs: $5.00 an hour, or $20.00 a day. You are also permitted to bring in your own towels, chairs, and umbrellas as we have limited numbers to rent out. Keep in mind on busy days visitors may want to bring in their own chairs.
Park visitors will be able to stay connected with FREE Wi-Fi service as they enjoy everything this state park has to offer. This service enables park visitors with wireless enabled laptop computers or personal digital assistants (PDAs) to access the Internet. You can access this service if you are within an approximate 150 foot range of the Pool Side Café (weather and signal permitting).
Golf carts are available daily.
Participants must be 18 years or older and hold a valid driver's license. A credit card deposit is required.
4 person golf cart: $35.00 for two hours/$50.00 for four hours/$75.00 per day
6 person golf cart: $45.00 for two hours/$60.00 for four hours/$90.00 per day
For concession hours of operation, contact:
Hillsborough River - Fishing
The park is a popular location for fishing the Hillsborough River. Fish that are commonly seen in the river include: bass, bream and catfish.
Note: A fishing license may be required.
Hillsborough River - Geo-Seeking
Hillsborough River State Park is proud to participate in the Florida State Parks Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C.) Geotrail and the Operation Recreation GeoTour.
More on the C.C.C. Geotrail:
Nine parks were built by the CCC and Works Progress Administration in the 1930s. Search for all nine caches and end at the CCC Museum at Highlands Hammock State Park to receive a commemorative geocoin.
GC38Y93 Fort Clinch State Park
GC3BG4G Florida Caverns State Park
GC3D02X Highlands Hammock State Park
GC3BG4A Hillsborough River State Park
GC3ABB5 Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park
GC3BG4N Myakka River State Park
GC3ABBC O’Leno State Park
GC38Y8V Ravine Gardens State Park
GC3BG4E Torreya State Park
GC38Y9F Florida State Parks FINAL CCC Cache located in Highlands Hammock State Park.
More on the Operation Recreation GeoTour:
The Operation Recreation GeoTour hosted by Geocaching.com, stretches from Pensacola to Key West and includes 71 of the First Three Time National Gold Medal Award Winning Florida State Parks and Trails. Visit 20 caches and win the Official Operation Recreation Geocoin. Download and print the Official Tracking Sheet to begin your adventure. Remember to cache and save with unlimited entry for a year with the Florida State Parks Annual Pass.
The Florida Park Service is proud to announce it has launched the Operation Recreation Kids GeoTour. Look inside Operation Recreation GeoTour geocaches for one of six possible Nature Cards. Every cache has one of six species. Record the name of the Florida State Park where you first find each of the six species on the Kids Official Tracking Sheet. Find all six species and win the ORGT Kids GeoTour Geocoin!
Hillsborough River - Hiking Nature Trail
Visitors have four hiking trails to choose from, which total approximately 7.3 total miles. Along the Hillsborough River, the trails take hikers through a dense, hydric hammock forest and provide interpretive displays, changing elevations and a multitude of opportunities to view and photograph nature. The Wetlands Trail begins in a pine flatwoods community and continues to fork in the trail, offering visitors a choice to enjoy the Fort King Trail or continue on the Wetlands Trail. Another example of how Hillsborough River State Park is where “history and nature” come together!
A trail map is available at the Ranger's Station.
SAFETY NOTICE: Park Closes at Sundown - Please allow ample time to leave trails by sundown.
ATTENTION: Due to increased rains in spring and summer, the park experiences seasonal flooding throughout the park. Approximately 25% of Hillsborough River State Park is in lowland areas and these areas are prone to seasonal flooding. These floods are extremely unpredictable and may affect your hiking experience. Please call the park office at: (813) 987-6771, for the specific conditions of our trails prior to your visit.
Hillsborough River - Pets
Pets are welcome in all outdoor areas of the park. Visitors should remember to clean up after their pets and keep pets on a 6 foot, hand-held leash at all times. Service animals are welcome in all visitor use areas in the park, but are not allowed to enter the pool. Please contact the Ranger Station for specific pet restrictions or inquiries.
Hillsborough River - Picnicking
Visitors can picnic under one of the pavilions built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C.) in the 1930's, or at one of the many picnic benches available throughout the park. Seven pavilions are available to rent. Call the Ranger Station: 813-987-6771, Monday through Thursday, 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM, for more information on availability. For fee structure, rental rules and regulations please see Park Forms under our Additional Information section.
Hillsborough River - Playground
For added enjoyment, the park has two children's playgrounds. One is conveniently located in the riverside picnic area and the other in the pool picnic area.
Hillsborough River - Restroom Facilities
ADA accessible restroom facilities are located in the park.
Hillsborough River - Swimming
Our swimming area with park concession is an ADA-accessible, ½ acre pool, surrounded by plenty of deck space and grassy areas to relax and catch some sun. The entry fee for the pool is $4.00 per person, per day, for visitors ages 6 and up; children ages 5 and under are FREE. The pool hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., daily; weather permitting.
Umbrellas and pool lounge chairs are available through the Poolside Café.
PLEASE NOTE: The pool may close for any of the following reasons:
- Inclement weather
- Major maintenance
- Water temperature below 70o
No lifeguards are on duty from Labor Day through Memorial Day.
Please contact the park office for the most up-to-date swimming pool information: (813) 987-6771.
Hillsborough River - Tours
Fort Foster Tours
Fort Foster is the only standing replica of a Second Seminole War Fort in the United States. Guided tours of Fort Foster are offered; weather permitting, Thursdays at 10:30 AM. Your “step back in time” will begin at the park's Ranger Station wher you can purchase your ticket. At Fort Foster is where you will see the only authentically reconstructed fort from the era of the Second Seminole Indian War (pre-1840’s). Allow approximately one-and-a-half hours for the tour.
As always, tours are offered, weather permitting.
Please note: NO PETS. Call (813) 987-6771 for more details.
Hillsborough River - Weddings
The park is a wonderful representation of the harmony between history and nature. This is the perfect backdrop for your dream wedding. Options for your ceremony and reception include a recreation hall, with seating for 100 persons, and several pavilions of different size. The park also has a concession which can offer catering opportunities. We look forward to helping you celebrate your special day. Contact the Ranger Station at (813) 987-6871, for pricing and availability.
Hillsborough River - Wildlife Viewing
A variety of habitats exist in Hillsborough River State Park, including pine flatwoods, floodplain swamp, hardwood and hydric hammock, cypress swamp and grass pond. These natural communities allow for diverse plant and animal communities to be observed by our visitors. Whether on a trail or picnicking, bring your binoculars to get a good look at the wildlife. Additional information about identified animals seen in Hillsborough River State Park can be found in the Ranger Station.