Dead River Park Hiking Review

Dead River Park Hiking Review
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Dead River Park Hiking Review
  • Length
  • Elevation
  • Historical Value
  • Scenery
  • Terrain
  • Trail Markers


This is a nicely secluded hike along the Hillsborough River. It's only 2 miles long, one way but you'll feel like you're in the middle of nowhere. A great trail to get photographs on.

User Rating: 5.0 (1 votes)

Park Information

Dead River Park Trail Map
Dead River Park Home Page


Dead River Park
15098 Dead River Road
Thonotosassa, FL 33592


9 am to 5:30 pm

Entrance Fee


Dead River Park is located at 15098 Dead River Road in Thonotosassa, FL. There is a $2.00 entrance fee. The park is made up of 21 acres that border the Hillsborough River and is one of the more scenic hikes in Central/Western Florida. Dead River Park is part of the Southwest Florida Water Management District. Dead River Road, the entrance to the trailhead is 2 miles long but makes for a scenic entrance. Vehicles are allowed to use the entrance road on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. All other days, visitors can bike or hike the road to the trailhead.

Dead River Park Aerial Nature Video

The History

The Hillsborough River runs parallel with the trail. The river has been active for 27,000 years and settlers have inhabited this area for 12,000 to 15,000 years now.

The Trails

The riverside of the trail is an amazing place for photographs though. There are parts where you can climb down to the bank and get some shots. There doesn’t seem to be current at the top of the water so you’ll see a good reflection of the sky and trees on the water. This was my favorite part of the hike. I ended up hiking the 2 miles down and cut over into Hillsborough River State Park and took Model Dairy Road out to 301 and South back to the entrance of Dead River Park. It ended up being a long day but I wanted to make sure I saw everything while I was there.


It was a quiet day in regards to seeing wildlife on this hike. I ran across a group of feral pig but they all ran from me when they saw me coming to their direction. They have done a lot of rooting along the trail.

Here is a list of some of the wildlife you may see on your hike:

  • Bobcat
  • Opossum
  • Bats
  • Rabbit
  • Armadillo
  • Coyote
  • Fox
  • Skunk
  • Feral hog
  • White-tailed deer
  • Alligators
  • Lizards
  • Rattlesnakes
  • Cottonmouths

The Hiking

I arrived on a Saturday and was able to pull my Jeep up to the trailhead. This was about a mile or two off my hike. If you plan on hiking the area Monday – Thursday then you are asked to park at the very beginning part of the park and hike or bike the road to the trailhead. The trail is 2 miles one way along the Hillsborough River. On one side you have the river and on the other, you pass trees and cypress swamps that make for great pictures. I found the trail to be all sand and was rooted up by all of the feral pigs in the area. I saw a few and they were very large. They ran from me as I hiked by them. The trail was uneven and I found myself looking down a lot due to all of the holes. It was really rooted up.

I’ve been to Hillsborough River State Park and it’s a busy place. It’s right next store so if you are looking to be out hiking alone without any noise, Dead River Park is the place for you. I was the only person hiking that day and felt like I was miles away from anyone (I probably was!).

Dead River Park Hiking Suggestions

  • Good hiking or walking shoes
  • Plenty of water
  • A camera


Chris spends his time photographing and taking video of wildlife and nature. He spent 2 years in high school studying forestry (Gainesville, FL) and is currently studying to be an Advanced Master Naturalist at the University of Florida. His mission is to inspire others to get outside and learn.