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.

http://floridahikes.com/florida-trail/weste... (http://floridahikes.com/florida-trail/western-corridor)

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+)

Camp, Hike, Bike, Paddle, Fish, Food & Chap Mtg at Silver Lake

Per recent FTA Covid-19 requirements, in order to attend Saturday hikes, Saturday Pot Luck and Chapter meeting, you MUST “Sign In” and in doing so attest that you are fully vaccinated or have tested negative in the past 72 hours. Please do not ask any event leader/FTA leadership to waive this requirement. It is mandatory. The Sign In Sheet is shown in the photos.

Suncoast's fall get together!

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 Howard Goldrich 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 Potluck lunch at the pavilion along with the Suncoast FTA Chapter meeting.

FTA will be furnishing hot dogs/brats, buns, condiments, plates. cutlery, Please bring a dish to pass. CDC social distancing will be implemented. Please bring a potluck item to add to the meal. Please wear your mask at any tables. 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 fishermen.

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 3 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, more rustic, tents only, & non electric. Silver Lake campground is also available. It is however, 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, you may need to share a site with other campers.

In the spirit of Halloween, join in on the "Scariest Campsite" contest. Send a message to Wes Calhoun if you want your site to be judged. Include your campground name (Silver Lake, Cypress Glen, or Crooked River), site number, and your name. Ballots will be handed out Saturday. Saturday night Wes will lead a hike through all the campgrounds with sites entered in the contest. Votes will be counted and the winner announced Sunday morning. The site with the most votes wins a prize. Entrants handing out "candy bribes" please use appropriate health practices (no communal candy bowls).

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.")

2021 - 2022 Hillsborough County Hiking Spree Kickoff! 🥾🤠🚶‍♂️🚶‍♀️🌴

What: 2022 Hillsborough County Hiking Spree Kickoff
When: Saturday, October 30th
Time: Anticipated start times 8:30 and 10:00
Where: Wortham Park, Riverview, FL

Get up, get out, and discover Hillsborough County's wild side during the[masked] Hiking Spree! Take a solo trip into the tranquility of nature, or hike with friends and make it a healthy and fun group activity. Each trail is a unique way to explore outdoor Florida and earn your very own prize.


The kickoff is scheduled to begin at 8:30, and we will have hikes short and long departing soon thereafter (9-ish!).

Before departing we will make a few Spree related announcements. These will include a presentation of this year’s Hiking Shield reward, the official list of trails, new trails on the Spree, and information about hiking and fitness trails throughout Hillsborough County.

Along with that, we’re also putting together grab-bags from local outdoor establishments and environmental agencies for the participants!

Upon completion, you will receive the Hiking Spree Medallion or patch for this year.

These hikes are generally well suited for children, those interested in shorter distances, and beginners. The trails vary in level of difficulty and will be noted accordingly.

So October 30th is the kickoff hike. You can still register anytime after. You just need to complete the Spree before the cutoff date which will be in March, 2022.

Remember, you will have to register with the county. The Spree is Free! But feel free to post comments, note your intention to participate, your past experiences, etc...

The man in charge is:

Brad Lympany
Nature Program Specialist
Hillsborough County Parks & Rec[masked]

Details will be updated as available. By participating, you will also learn about a bunch of cool new places to hike.

Let us Give Thanks....at Little Manatee River State Park!! 🥾 🛶 🎣 🦃🍗⛺💉💉💉

IMPORTANT! YOU MUST READ! https://floridatrail.org/covid-19/

Let us give thanks!

We will have our traditional pre Thanksgiving hike and camp weekend Nov 19th to the 21st at Little Manatee River State Park.

Their 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.

We are also wanting some volunteers to do some light maintenance which will mostly involve lopping and trimming as you go along. Bring loppers if you are doing this.

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!

There may be several chapter owned loppers to loan. We will finish by no later than noon so we can all be back in time for lunch.

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.

There is also a primitive back country site located on the main hiking trail. I think there is space for about a dozen or so. Call the park for information on reservations/fees for this site. This is a full carry in / pack out backpacking site.

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

Family campground may be full. Check here. https://bit.ly/3vNM6o2
We already have 10 or so from Suncoast with reservations here.

We will have our lunch and meeting at the grassy picnic area adjacent to the playground. A camp chair is suggested. IRestrooms are in close proximity

This will be a potluck lunch. Please bring a main and side dish to share!

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 the group site....

Camping for Myakka River State Park Work Party

Myakka River State Park

*****This camping is for the Myakka Work Party Only. If you are not signed up and attend the Work Party, you WILL NOT be able to camp*****

We will have the opportunity to camp in our normal Youth area #1 campsite. Feel free to bring your tent, hammock or just sleep out under the stars (sorry, no RV's in this area) The campsite is a gorgeous wooded site very close to the Myakka River. There are nearby bathrooms with hot water, a firepit a BBQ grill and picnic tables (sorry but no electric at the sight).

This campsite is directly across the street from the SR 72 park entrance. You MUST check-in at the Ranger Station prior to heading to the camp area. The Rangers will issue a gate cade and a camping permit upon checking in.

Contact Adam at (941)[masked] for camping questions.

Directions to Myakka River State Park:

From I-75 exit 205 travel east on Clark Rd (SR72) for approximately 9 miles the park entrance will be on the left side of the road.

Other upcoming work service projects at Myakka River State Park:

December 3rd - 5th
January 7th – 9th
February 4th – 6th
March 4th - 6th

Past events (1,262)


Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve - West Tract

Photos (42,257)