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Walking Club: Exploring Edward Medard Conservation Park in Hillsborough County

Edward Medard Park
Posted at 5:03 AM, Jan 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-08 09:40:35-05

Many of us are looking for ways to be active while also staying a safe distance away from others. That's why Sarah Phinney started a ‘Walking Club’ to highlight some hidden, and some not so hidden, trails and parks across the Tampa Bay.

Edward Medard Conservation Park in Hillsborough County is worth a visit this weekend! The park has something to offer for all ages and ability levels.

Where is it?

Edward Medard Conservation Park is located in eastern Hillsborough County. Put this address in your phone:

6140 Turkey Creek Rd
Plant City, FL 33567

What’s the history?

The area used to be home to a phosphate mine. It was donated by a mining company to The Southwest Florida Water Management District in 1969. Hillsborough County began developing the park in 1972. It is one of the county’s largest regional parks.

What’s there now?

Visitors will find plenty of fun for the whole family!

There are two trails that cater to different ability levels. You’ll find twists, turns, ups and downs on the 1.25 mile Singing Bluffs Trail. Definitely wear sturdy shoes and be prepared for a little smell sometimes. Vultures roost in the area in the evening.

“When they do their business, you can definitely smell it,” said Matthew Sonnemann, Park Ranger at Edward Medard Conservation Park. “But it makes the experience a lot more interesting!”

The Levee Trail has a totally different feel. The trail is 1.3 miles (one way) along the Edward Medard Reservoir. You’ll find beautiful views, but no shade! Prepare accordingly.

The trails are part of the Hillsborough County #HikingSpree. Click here for more information.

Also, make sure to check out Sacred Hills! Some may be surprised to learn that this beautiful site is not natural.

“When this used to be an old phosphate mine, all the stuff they didn’t use would be all piled up, and then throughout time, people stomping around, rain and weather led to the roots now being exposed,” said Sonnemann.

Another big draw is the 700-acre reservoir. You can fish, boat and canoe. Some rentals are available.

There is also a pier, disc golf course and beach volleyball court. Camping is also popular at the park.

“It’s just a really great park for all ages,” said Sonnemann. “No matter what your lifestyle is, you’ll find something out here you’ll really enjoy.”

When should I visit?

Edward Medard Conservation Park is open from 8 am to 6 pm in the fall and winter. It’s open from 8 am to 7 pm during the spring and summer.

There is a $2 entrance fee per vehicle.

Get involved in Walking Club!

Post photos of your adventures, ask questions and learn about upcoming #WalkingClub stories in Sarah’s Walking Club group on Facebook!

You can also keep up with Sarah on Instagram and Twitter.