TRAIL UPDATE.... SOME OF THE TRAILS AROUND OAK RIDGE WERE "TILLED" THIS WEEK. WE WILL HAVE ONE SECTION EARLY IN THE HIKE.. ABOUT .7 MILE OF OUR TRAIL WHERE WE WILL WALK IN THE WOODS ALONG SIDE THE DEEP SAND ..THERE WILL BE TWO TO THREE MORE SHORT SECTIONS FOR A TOTAL OF ABOUT 1 MILE OF OUR SEVEN MILE HIKE WHERE WE WILL WALK ALONG OR ON, TILLED ROADBED......
THESE TRAILS ARE FIRE ROADS AND AND THEY ARE ANNUALLY TILLED TO MAKE SURE THEY SERVE THEIR PURPOSE AS FIREBREAKS DURING CONTROL BURNS OR WILDFIRE..... 2/20/2013
This will be a familiar route for some..... BUT we will go clockwise this time...and we will go through the enchanted pine forest near the beginning...
This will be a fun and varied terrain loop hike of about 7 miles. We will be along the beautiful Morris Bridge corridor on some established trails, some abandoned trails, some barely discernible trails, perhaps a section or two with no trails, some on the map, alot off the map!
If coming northbound on I-75, just get off at Morris Bridge Rd. and drive past the Lower Hillsborough Wilderness Park sites. The last one will be Flatwoods on the left. When you get to the stoplight at Cross Creek Blvd, proceed about .2 mile. Just after you pass Basset Creek, Oak Ridge parking area is on the right.
If coming southbound I-75, take CR 56 to Bruce B Downs, turn right on BBD to Cross Creek Blvd, turn left on Cross Creek blvd to Morris Bridge Rd, then left. Parking area and trailhead is on the right in .2 mile.
If coming on Morris Bridge Road from Zephyrhills, it will be on the left about .2 mile before the Cross Creek Blvd stoplight. This intersection is approximately 4.5 miles from where Chancey Road intersects Morris Bridge Rd.
The posted trailhead map is accurate. THERE IS NO PARKING FEE. This is a SWFWMD conservation land, not a park, and is maintained to a much lesser degree than our county or state parks.
No bikers here, use is restricted to foot traffic and equestrians.
Expect a section of dense old growth Florida forest, some nice open palmetto prairie, some marked trails, several abandoned unblazed and overgrown trails, mostly unmarked trail junctions, some very eroded rutted sections, and occasional horse dung (Watch your step!) Hope we see some hogs, deer, and a few turkey!!
Bring water, food, whatever personal items you need, a hat if it is sunny, hiking poles advisable. Proper footwear essential! No restrooms or potable water at Oak Ridge trail head. Restrooms available at the Shell Convenience Store at intersection of Morris Bridge Road and Cross Creek Blvd - also a Publix plaza there.
Let me know if you have any questions.
[masked] call or text day of hike
This activity is sponsored by the Suncoast Chapter of the Florida Trail Association. There is no fee to hike and you need not be an FTA member to participate but we encourage you to take a moment to learn about the FTA and consider being a part of our community.
This photo is of a very fat 5 foot plus Diamondback Rattlesnake I saw on this route in the late summer of 2011. The widest part of the midsection was roughly the circumference of a tuna can! Wouldn't it be splendid to see one of these beauties on our hike!
..... quote from WILLIAM BARTRAM, English botanist, commenting on Florida's astonishing natural beauty while on his journey in the 18th century exploring the southern colonies..........
"Whilst I, continually impelled by a restless spirit of curiosity, in pursuit of new productions of nature, my chief happiness consisted in tracing and admiring the infinite power, majesty, and perfection of the great Almighty Creator"