Canoe Escape offers six different self-guided, downstream, day-trip combinations along the Hillsborough River through a diverse ecosystem. Guests are encouraged to take extra time on any trip for nature observation, picnicking, photography, or fishing. Whether you are renting canoes or kayaks or Canoe Escape is shuttling yours, all paddling adventures start at Canoe Escape located in John B. Sargeant Park. You will be launched at or transported to the start of your trip from John B. Sargeant Park. (John B. Sargeant Park charges a $2.00 per car parking fee.)
We provide a river map, an explanation of your trip, and information about current river conditions. Our staff is happy to provide cursory paddling pointers to review the basic strokes in case it's been a while since you've paddled or if you are a . Knowing the draw stroke in the bow and the J-stroke and rudder in the stern of the canoe will help you navigate your way down the Hillsborough more easily.
All trips are downstream. Approximated paddling times will vary with your paddling proficiency, weather conditions, and the water level. Although a rare occurrence, since this is a wilderness area it is possible to encounter a downed tree or other obstruction that may require a portage on any trip even though we do our best to keep all self-guided trip sections free of objects blocking the path.
Whether you are renting canoes or kayaks or we are shuttling yours, reservations are strongly recommended on all trips to secure trip time and availability. By making a reservation you assist us in doing our best to stagger-start launches so everyone can enjoy the wildlife and serenity. Reservations and advance prepayment are required for of 8 or more canoes. Canoe Escape is open year around however we are closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve Day, and Christmas Day. We open at 9:00 a.m. daily.
Because this river is of such great ecological importance to the Tampa Bay area, we believe that these trips are best suited to wildlife watchers, families, and those seeking the serenity of the outdoors. If you are looking for a social outing that revolves around a lot of alcohol, this is not the place for you. We have only a few that are simple to follow and they exist for your safety as well as that of the wildlife. We look forward to providing you with one of the greatest outdoor experiences you'll ever have!
Self-Guided, Downstream Wilderness Park Trips
The Wilderness Park is a 16, 000-acre wildlife preserve. It is part of the Florida Wildlife Commissions's...
Trip 5 - Morris Bridge Park to Rotary Park
A combination of Trips 2 and 3 for four hours of contrasting scenic beauty between the Wilderness Park and suburban Temple Terrace. Trout Creek Park (the midpoint of the trip) is a great place to have lunch, stretch your legs, or just relax before heading on downstream.
80% shade first 1-1/2 hours; then full sun