Zenfolio | April L. Gustetter | HILLSBOROUGH RIVER - River Hills Park to Rotary Riverfront Park, Temple Terrace, Fla.

19 photos
Riverhills Park
405 Riverhills Dr.
Temple Terrace, FL 33617

From 56th Street, just north of the Hillsborough River bridge, turn east on Riverhills Drive. Turn right at the 4-way stop, and enter the park at the boat launch area.

This beautiful 34.45-acre park offers access to the Hillsborough River by providing a boat ramp and dock. The land was purchased to protect a rare, undeveloped stretch of shoreline on the Hillsborough River, most of which has been developed with single family home sites long ago. A picnic area set under the cypress and oaks provides picnic tables, grills, gazebo, shelter, and boardwalk that winds along the riverfront. Additional amenities include a large playground area, two newly renovated tennis courts, and restrooms.

After leaving one vehicle at the take-out (Rotary Riverfront Park), we launched and headed to our left (south). Beautiful weather greeted us and remained perfect throughout the 5-hour paddle (we stopped a lot to take photos). A smattering of wildlife accompanied us on the tour, though the absence of Great Blue Herons and White Egrets was apparent to me (Limpkin, Ibis, and Little Blue Herons were the stars of the feathered clan, while baby and adolescent alligator joined a bevy of turtles to represent the wonderful world of water/land creatures).

Traditionally, I research the area of the venue to find a non-chain restaurant to cap the day's events, and the "eats after" this trip were awesome and worthy of promotion...

Antonio's Pasta Grille
11401 North 56th Street - Suite 23
Tampa, FL 33617
(813) 914-8899

Great food, atmosphere, service, and prices! If you're ever in the Temple Terrace area, this is a must - get there between 5:30 and 6p on a Saturday and you'll beat the crowd!
This tour was a repeat for me but everything about it was brand new for my brother, Mark......and my friend, Kathy...both of my paddle pals were on their virgin tour :DNot sure what the owners of this old tub were going to do with it, but it made for a great photo!Snapping the snapper ;-). Mark was very brave carrying such expensive equipment on his first paddle.Practicality over high quality, my waterproof point-n-shoot requires I get close to my subjects......but when they are this accommodating, the process is as enjoyable as the final shot!Turtles were plentiful, and many were intoxicated enough by the warmth of the sun......to let me get very, very close!This was the first of several adolescent sightings (only saw adult 'gators in the water).While it looks like this turtle is floating on top of the water, there is a log under it.The highlight of wildlife for me was a pod of baby alligators, one of which posed for me!Despite coming down with a cold the night before his first paddle, Mark looked like a pro!This Little Blue Heron led me into a wonderful cove of cypress trees and "knees"......and this was on the other side of the cove...beautiful, isn't it?!While talking to a friend on the phone (I know), I spied this cypress knee giving me the thumbs up!Hard to see here, but there are three turtles on the mud bank behind this Little Blue Heron.Heading back under the Temple Terrace Highway bridge, we were halfway to our destination.I forgot to charge all my camera batteries, so this was my last shot...no complaints here!