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Hiking around Green Swamp West?

Colorado
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Hiking around Green Swamp West?

I'm going to be in Tampa in a couple of weeks, and was looking at doing some hiking. I'm from Colorado, so I'd like to experience the different climate of Florida.

I was looking at going to Green Swamp West. Does anyone know anything about it? Looked like it's only about 1/2 hour from Tampa and might have some decent hiking there:

…state.fl.us/recreation/…greenswamp-west.html

Just wondering if anyone had any thoughts on this, or maybe on any better places to hike around there. I may go down to the Everglades the following day, but I only have until about 3 in the afternoon on this day so I was happy that it was close.

Thanks for the help!

Tampa, Florida
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1. Re: Hiking around Green Swamp West?

Look at this web site

http://www.floridahikes.com/gatorcreek

This is for the Gator Creek Trail. Never been there so can't give any info.

Review the floridahikes.com site for other hiking options in Florida.

You did not mention how many miles you wanted to hike or the time of year you will be in the area. Be sure you have sun screen, bug repellant and water.

Do you realize how long it will take to drive to the Everglades from Tampa? From Tampa to Naples is nearly 3 hours, then add more time to where ever you want to go in the Everglades maybe another hour to get there, so a total of perhaps 4 hours. If you only have until 3 p.m., hmm, you do the math.

You could visit Hillsborough River State Park near Tampa for some shorter trails. Or Lettuce Lake Park off of Fletcher Ave. in the greater Tampa area which has a short boardwalk/trail area. I also like Sawgrass Lake park in Pinellas County across the bay from Tampa, just to walk a few trails, not real hiking.

Google any other names mentioned above or Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco or Polk County parks for other options. Or even Florida State Parks.

Tampa, FL
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2. Re: Hiking around Green Swamp West?

It's up near Dade City. So, it's probably more like 50 mins to an hour away. I have not been there personally so I can't comment on the hiking. I'm sure you know that Florida is completely flat, so it won't really be like hiking in Colorado. LOL Have a great trip! :O)

Tampa, Florida
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3. Re: Hiking around Green Swamp West?

Another option is to take a hike around the Fort De Soto Park area. This will be different as it is a beach area.

www.pinellascounty.org/park/05_ft_desoto.htm

Many people would drive from one area to another within the park, but if you are hearty, park and hike around to the different beach areas, the fort, the piers. The fort is currently closed to the public for rehabilition work.

pinellascounty.org/park/…FORTDESOTO.pdf

Edited: 01 February 2011, 13:53
Colorado
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4. Re: Hiking around Green Swamp West?

Thanks for the help! Sorry, I didn't make it totally clear that I actually have 2 days. The first day is next Friday, and I'm free until a wedding at 5. The next day I've got nothing planned all day, so a 3-4 hour drive each way wouldn't be too out of the question.

As far as length, I think I can do just about any length. I've done up to 10-15 miles in the mountains, so I'd imagine I should be able to do a little more if I want to.

I'd really like to see some wildlife too.

Thanks for all the help!

Tampa, Florida
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5. Re: Hiking around Green Swamp West?

Sorry I missed in your original post that you would be in the area in a "couple of weeks".

I know a lot of people from other places, outside of Florida, really want to see the Everglades, and perhaps to be able to say they have been to the Everglades, but as a native of Florida, my opinion is, you can see most of things you would in the Everglades in other areas of Florida. Not sure if you really enjoy driving that much, 3-4 hours each way, just to get to the Everglades. I personally would rather have more out of the car time.

When people say they want to see wildlife in Florida, normally, I intepret that to mean alligators and after that snakes, birds, rabbits, squirrels. Gopher tortoises are a local animal, I know you can see many mid-day at Weedon Island Preserve near St. Petersburg. Armadillos usually come out to forage for grubs in the late afternoon, not sure where you would have a good chance of seeing them (except my parents yard in Pasco Co.) :-)

You don't have to go far to see alligators. I would say Lettuce Lake Park off Fletcher Ave. in the north Tampa area. The board walk is nice and there is a look out tower. You should also see various water fowl and snakes (just look for them). Length - a stroll in the park, not hiking.

My guess is you would want to clean up a bit before the wedding, so back at your room by 3 p.m. maybe?

On Friday, if the weather is forecast to be good (not rainy), my suggestion would be to go places in the Tampa area. Again review the list here.

floridahikes.com/hikes/…tampa

Then you can decide if you want to make the drive to the Everglades the next day.

I assume you are familiar with rattlesnakes, since they live out west too. Since we are having cooler weather, be careful to look out for them. They may come out to sun, in mid-day and into the last of the sunlight, esp. on paved areas. They like the warmth from the cement or asphalt. Do not wander through palmettos (the little palms that grow close to the ground), because rattlesnakes often live in or around them. Be sure to tell someone your plans and when to expect you back, because as you know, you can get into bad situations when hiking alone even on short trails. If you go to J. B. Starkey Wilderness Park which says it is a 12.7 mile back packing trail, do look out for rattlesnakes. My husband has seen many there in the past.

I really think you might enjoy a hike around the beach area at Fort De Soto park, near St. Pete Beach. So think about it.

6. Re: Hiking around Green Swamp West?

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