Alafia River State Park beckons visitors with 40 miles of trails for horseback riding, hiking, and mountain biking. Open all year long, this park provides a base for explorers to camp and be ready for more fun the next day! The Alafia River adds another level of fun to this state park for those who wish to kayak, canoe, paddleboard, or fish.
With 6,312 acres of land, Alafia makes for a gorgeous outdoor playground for nature lovers of all styles! The land’s natural ability to regenerate life shines throughout this park and its rich history. The reclaimed phosphate mine areas have begun to produce new land formations, offering mountain bikers and hikers some of Florida’s most challenging trailways.
Bring your curious side and learn about Fort Lonesome. The U.S. Army utilized the area in the 1850s during the Third Seminole War. Tree lovers will enjoy seeing water hickories, red maple, and swamp tupelo along the water’s edge and throughout the park. The Alafia River and its surroundings provide visitors with plenty of space to relax, explore, and enjoy some dirt and sunshine!
Alafia River State Park is accessed via County Road 39 in Hillsborough County, Florida. The small community of Lithia sits about three miles north of Alafia on CR 39. The park is about a forty-minute drive southeast of the Tampa area.
Alafia closes its gates at sunset. Be sure call ahead if you plan to arrive after 5 pm. Check to be sure that the Thatcher Road entrance is open as your time at Alafia approaches. Flooding tends to close Thatcher Road on occasion. Note that the Ranger Station is on County Road 39 (not Jameson Road as GPS systems may show).
Motorists should remain alert and aware that cyclists, horseback riders, and hikers may be present in parking lots and road crossings. Alafia offers multiple modes of travel throughout the park, allowing campers to give driven vehicles a break and enjoy the park in a more natural manner through hiking, biking, horseback riding, and water travel.
The Alafia River State Park Campground is accessible via County Road 39. (Note that some navigation systems have incorrectly shown the campground to be located on Jameson Road.) The campground is located just beyond the ranger station inside the park. The campground’s proximity to Alafia Lake means that getting from your campsite to the water easy.
Campsites may be reserved online up to eleven months in advance. Reservations must be made at least one day in advance. Solar-heated showers and large picnic pavilions are available in the campground. Each site is equipped with water and electric hookups. RV and camper setups need to be 55 feet or less for travel and movement within the campground.
Remember to check pet regulations if you plan to bring your furry friends along. Some non-furbearing pets are also allowed. Pets are not allowed on the biking trails.
Equestrian-friendly campsites allow horse owners to enjoy a camping adventure with ponies in tow! Be sure to follow current regulations regarding animals in your campsite. Consider booking in advance to ensure that you are able to acquire a site that permits horses. A negative Coggins test for each horse is required. Hitching equipment is available.
Once a phosphate mining site, Alafia River State Park offers mountain bikers about 25 miles of trailway to enjoy. Beginning off-road cyclists will appreciate the occasional clinics that are offered. Elevation changes provide off-road cyclists with plenty of ups and downs throughout the trails of the park. Riders not able to bring their own bike can rent one within the park. Remember that some of the trails are used by cyclists and hikers. Alafia requires helmets for all riders on park trails. Mountain biking is a favorite activity for visitors of Alafia all year long!
Over twenty miles of trails will bring hikers through some of Florida’s most challenging ascents. The Alafia State Park Trail is a three and a half-mile loop that provides views of the lake waters and plenty of nature’s little creatures. Tree markings help hikers recognize where they want to go. Remember to listen for other travelers on the trailways as you enjoy Alafia’s natural wonders. Hiking trails are shared with horseback riders and mountain bikers in some places. In an effort to make nature accessible to as many individuals as possible, this park has trails that are wheelchair accessible.
Looking for a great place to explore with your favorite horse friends? Alafia offers a wonderful trail system for horseback riding. Horse trails bring riders through moderate terrain with plenty of visual interest and just enough ups and downs to keep your animal in shape. Equestrian riders will need to be mindful of other visitors as several trail options intersect or are shared. Many of the trails in Alafia are open year-round, making this a great place for a winter getaway!
Land and water move around one another in intricate fashion throughout the paths of the Alafia River, providing visitors with more options than can be explored in a short time. Canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding can all be enjoyed on the South Prong of the Alafia River and elsewhere. Water lovers may choose to travel upstream to Lake Hurrah. The landscape of Alafia River State Park has changed over the course of time leaving visitors with an ever-changing water wonderland!
Bring your binoculars when you visit Alafia! Creatures big and small enjoy this area just as much as its human visitors. Visitors to Alafia have reported sightings of tortoises, alligators, otters, wild pigs, owls, wading birds, and many others. Bring your birding books and wildlife viewing logs and see what you can find. Maybe someone in your group will see a less common Red-Shouldered Hawk. Make a game of it and see who can record the most colors or the most species of your favorite animal type!
Alafia’s many creeks, riverways, and small lakes make it an ideal place to fish. Largemouth bass, catfish, and bluegill are often found by anglers in the area's waters. Catch and release fishing is recommended by the park for largemouth bass. A Florida State Fishing License is required for anyone over the age of 16. A license may be acquired online through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Bring your fishing gear and hike on over to your new favorite fishing spot in Alafia!