What we're about

June 4th, 2021

This group is operated by the Florida Trail Association.

We are a community who love to get outdoors to hike, backpack, paddle, and give back by way of volunteer trail maintenance. 
Joining this Meetup does not constitute membership in the FTA and unless specifically mentioned, you are not required to hold an FTA membership to participate. Events which are FTA Members Only will be clearly indicated.
The Suncoast Chapter serves over 500 FTA members in Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties. We maintain The Florida National Scenic Trail between US 98 north of Lakeland and Hernando. 
Within these boundaries we also maintain a section of the Florida Trail Western Corridor which encompasses the Citrus, Croom, Richloam Tracts within Withlacoochee State Forest, and Green Swamp West, as well as popular loop trails within these tracts. 
Trail systems that we also are responsible for include Hillsborough River State Park, Little Manatee State Park, Myakka River State Park, Potts Preserve, Upper Hillsborough WMA, Terra Ceia Preserve State Park, and Withlacoochee River Park. 
Our chapter regularly maintains over 200 miles of trail and offers recreational and volunteer work events throughout the region.
We work in cooperation with the US Forest Service, State Forest Service, SWFWMD, DEP, and other land managers to keep the Florida National Scenic Trail, the Western Corridor, and designated side trails open for recreational use.
We sponsor many events on non FTA designated land tracts, trail systems and waterways. 

Certain risks are inherent in any Florida Trail Association, Inc (the "Association") activity. Each Association member, guest, or non-member participant agrees to accept personal responsibility for his or her safety, and the safety of minors accompanying such persons.
The Association cannot ensure the safety of any participants on hikes or activities. In participating in Association activities, each such person agrees to hold harmless and free from blame the Activity Leader(s) and the Association, its officers, directors, and members, for any accident, injury, or illness which might be sustained from participating in hikes or other Association activities. Neither the Association, Activity Leaders, nor land managers are in any way liable for any injury or illness I might sustain from participating in an Association activity.
By joining the Suncoast Chapter Meetup Group you are agreeing to the assumption of risk as stated above.


Upcoming events (4+)

Hike from Ridge Manor Trailhead

Needs a location

Join me for about a 6 mile hike from the Ridge Manor Trailhead at the Withlacoochee Bike Trail. Please arrive by 8:45 so we can leave by 9:00. This will be a loop hike part of which will be along the Withlacoochee River. The trail has been mowed and is in pretty good shape. Be sure to bring plenty of water . Bring lunch if you want to eat at the picnic pavilion after the hike.
There is construction on Highway 50 so plan a little extra time for arrival.
Bob S

Silver Lake Camp, Hike, Potluck Lunch & FTA Suncoast Chapter Meeting

Needs a location

FTA Suncoast Chapter FALL GET TOGETHER at Silver Lake - Camp, Hike, Bike, Paddle, Fish, Potluck lunch & Meeting

Saturday morning Wes Calhoun will lead an 8-10 mile out-and-back hike from the day use pavilion along the River Trail. Be at the pavilion at 8:00 AM to sign in.

Saturday morning TBD will lead a 5-7 mile out-and-back hike from the day use pavilion. Be at the pavilion at 8:30 AM to sign in.

Hikes are followed by a potluck lunch at the day use pavilion along with the FTA Suncoast Chapter meeting.

FTA will be furnishing hot dogs/brats, buns, condiments, plates & cutlery. Please bring a potluck food item to add to the meal. We are asking for $5.00 donation from each person to cover food costs, pavilion rental. Payable at the pavilion at time of lunch.

Some activities to explore on your own or with a group. Prime hiking trails can be accessed from camp, as well as the paved Withlacoochee State Trail. All campgrounds have river access for paddlers and anglers.

If you are attending Saturday only, there is a $1.99 Florida State Forest Day Use Fee. Pay on the day of the event via the Web Store at https://floridastateforests.reserveamerica.com. If you don't have internet access, you may pay later.

There are three campgrounds at Silver Lake rec area: Silver Lake, Cypress Glen, & Crooked River. We usually base at Cypress Glen, where there is electricity. Some prefer Crooked River, less highway noise, more rustic, tents only, & non electric. Silver Lake campground is also available. It is right next to I-75 and you may need earplugs. All have clean drinking water and showers.

Reserve on your own via https://floridastateforests.ReserveAmerica.com. If things fill up, as Suncoast events often do, please offer to share a site with other campers.

Sunday morning breakfast, to be held at campsite #55 in Cypress Glen campground, Sue Bunge will have eggs, bacon, bread and butter. Please bring something to share or a cash donation. Starts around 8:30.

https://www.fdacs.gov/content/download/82305/file/Silver-Lake-Brochure-102019.pdf (please note: the reservation web link in the brochure will not work if you include the "www.")

Let us Give Thanks....at Little Manatee River State Park!

Needs a location


We will have our traditional pre Thanksgiving hike and camp weekend Nov 18th to the 20th at Little Manatee River State Park.

No cost primitive group camping for up to 40 or so will be available in the youth group site for Friday and Saturday. There are no facilities and restrooms are a 10 minute walk or short drive.

Those who would like to have closer access to restrooms, or more space, often make reservations in the family site. Normal camp fees apply.

SATURDAY morning:: The extremely popular and scenic 6.5 mile trail is one that Suncoast FTA maintains. Mike Williams is our Section Leader here .

Meet at the main trail on US hwy 301 at 8: 00 am Saturday morning. The trail head is on the west side of hwy 301. It is 2.6 miles south of the intersection of 301 and SR 674. It is 0.4 mile north of Canoe Outpost if coming from the other direction. https://bit.ly/3y3DJ9V

You will have a choice of doing the 6.5 mile loop, or a shorter 3.0 mile loop.

Requesting some volunteers to do some light maintenance on the trail which will mostly involve lopping and trimming as you go along. There may be several chapter owned loppers to loan.

You do not have to do maintenance. You can just hike if you want. It is a beautiful trail and we want everyone to get a taste of it....especially if you have never been here!

We will finish by no later than noon so we can all be back in time for lunch.

Saturday potluck lunch..

Mike and Ann Williams will be preparing a fried turkey and a roasted turkey, YUM!

Saturday afternoon potluck..about noon-ish... please bring a dish to pass and a $5 donation is requested to cover costs..

Planning on having the potluck event at the pavilion down by the river, will update if different. Signs will be posted where we will be parking. A camp chair is suggested. Restrooms are in close proximity

All day Friday and Saturday afternoon will be on your own with paddling, hiking, biking available.

Feel free to post comments to organize independent paddle, bike, hike outings.

SUNDAY morning breakfast at camp site #2 in the family campground , FTA will be providing eggs, bacon, bread and butter.. please bring a dish to share or an FTA donation.

See you there!!

FTA SUNCOAST ANNUAL CHRISTMAS PARTY! Withlacoochee River Park, Dade City

Please come celebrate the Christmas Season with us on weekend of , December 10, 2022 at the FTA SUNCOAST CHAPTER ANNUAL CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY PARTY

The park is located at: 12449 Withlacoochee Blvd.
Dade City, FL 33525

FAMILY RV/TENT AREA: There are 15 sites total, as of now there are 7 sites still available. reserve through Pasco County,,hopefully this link works: View the online reservation webpage

GROUP TENT CAMPING! available Friday Dec 9th and Saturday Dec 10th in the beautifully shaded and roomy Boy Scout group sites A & B. NO COST for camping. Restrooms in walking distance. Potable water on site.

We will have signs pointing the way,,

The gate to the camp area is on Auton Rd. 0.6 mile SOUTH of the main park entrance, on the EAST side of the road.

if questions, please call me at[masked]!

This is a walk in site. You park your car outside the gate and carry your gear in. A relatively short walk in..Please take that into account when planning what gear to bring.(Dog's not permitted in group site.)

There are 2 SATURDAY Morning hikes starting from the pavilion, signs will be posted ,, Start time is 9:30, signs showing where the pavilion can be located will be in place,

Hopefully..Charles Edwards (our favorite long time FTA founder ) and FTA leader will be leading the 'traditional ' 3 mile or so hike 9:30 am on the FTA maintained trail along the beautiful, scenic Withlacoochee River. Learn about the early years of FTA and what they did to blaze the trail! It's amazing !

Amanda Hus?, long time FTA leader and adventurer extraordinaire will be leading the hike on the interior county park trails at 9:30,, approx 3.5 /4 miles or so....mostly shady wide trails makes it easy to talk and walk at the same time.

Leaders TBD. will keep you posted

Wear your antlers, Santa hats, Christmas Holiday colors!

LUNCH! At the pavilion, 12:30 pm -ish ..Grilled chicken/brats/ buns/condiments provided by FTA ..cooked by Mike Williams on the charcoal grill to perfection :) Yum!

PLEASE BRING A SIDE DISH FOR THE POT LUCK.... We will be asking for a $5.00 per person donation to cover food and misc. costs... donations in excess of food costs go towards equipment and trail maintenance funds...

Beautiful handcrafted table center pieces Created by Cathy M , Ruth R and Sue.. will be our give away raffle prizes. PLUS, join in singing Christmas holiday carols and tunes!

There's paddling, biking & more hiking at Green Swamp West...a fishing dock.....lots of stuff to do and explore!

Sunday morning pot-luck breakfast about 8:30 for everyone that wants to join in. FTA will be providing eggs, bacon, bread and butter,,Please bring a breakfast food item to share or an FTA donation. Breakfast will be held in the family campground on site #7..you will find us.. the smell of bacon and eggs can't be missed--thanks Mike and Ann!

Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season to you, your friends, and family!!

Past events (1,321)

Photos (43,237)