Landscape and Nature Photographer
Hillsborough River State Park
We entered the park through the Main Entrance and proceeded to Parking 2, which is the River Rapids trail head. We were not disappointed with the trail. Almost immediately after we entered we heard a pileated woodpecker and got a quick glimpse of it. They are very large woodpeckers, with a red crest on their head and black and white stripes on their face. A bit further in and we approached the river. The Hillsborough River is not very deep, but is very picturesque. The park has done an excellent job of making the river accessible as well. As we continued our hike we came upon the first set of rapids. We spent a bit of time looking at and photographing the rapids.
We continued down the path further to our vehicle and proceeded to parking 4. At parking 4 there is a cafe, bike and canoe rental and a very large pool. There is a sign at the pool that says it can accommodate up to 215 bathers. The area around the cafe, in fact the entire park was very well kept and free of debris and liter. Obviously the park rangers and the employees at the park take great pride in the park. Accessibility is well above average for a state park. Although the paths are not paved, during dry weather a disabled individual shouldn't have any problem accessing the trails and enjoying the scenery. There is also pavilions, BBQ's and restrooms with a playground across from the concession area.
We left parking 4 and went to parking 5 where the wetlands trail head is located. The Wetlands trail is marked on the map as being 1.6 miles long. About one third of a mile in it is intersected by the Fort King trail. While on this trail we saw a second pileated woodpecker. This one was kind enough to stop close to us and pose for a few photographs. It is very unusual to have a pileated woodpecker come that close. Normally, you'll hear them pecking at a distance and if you're lucky you may see them at a distance. In any case, we were all very excited to see this pileated woodpecker as close as we did.