Let the river run through you. “Unplug” and drift with the slow moving current of the Hillsborough River, an easy glide downstream. Ideal for beginner and intermediate paddlers, a canoe or kayak trip on the Hillsborough River is great fun, and you’ll love the Authentic Florida scenery along the way.
Thousands of years ago the Hillsborough River was home to indigenous tribes including the Calusa Indians. It doesn’t take much imagination to visualize Florida history while experiencing the river in its natural state. Fallen trees and branches stretch over the shady river, and while paddling under and around green mossy cypress trees, you can’t help but be moved by the beauty and stillness. Some stretches were swampy and slightly primeval while other areas were forested with palms, river lilies and ferns, creating an emerald green Florida landscape.
The Hillsborough River runs 54 miles downstream from the Green Swamp (which lies in the four-corner area of Lake, Pasco, Polk and Sumter Counties, west of Hwy. 27) through wilderness, agricultural and eventually urban landscapes including downtown Tampa where it flows into Tampa Bay. The Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve creates the headwaters for not only the Hillsborough River, but also the Withlachoochee, Ocklawaha and the Peace Rivers. Sometimes called the “hydrologic heart” of Florida, the Green Swamp is vital to the state’s water supply. In its upstream reaches, the Hillsborough River is surrounded by nature and remains relatively untouched, but as you get closer to the mouth of Tampa Bay, homes and neighborhoods begin to pop up and eventually an urbanized environment becomes predominant. The Hillsborough Paddling Trail will provide you with an excellent overview.