An expanse of peaceful campgrounds, wooded trails and cypress and hardwoods rise to pine flatwoods nestled in Pasco County’s Land O’ Lakes.
The District’s Cypress Creek Preserve is an oasis of natural systems that stretches north from SR 54 between US 41 and I-75. Cypress Creek’s floodplain helps filter nutrients in runoff waters. The property was purchased to preserve Cypress Creek Swamp, provide flood protection, protect and improve water quality and serve as a public water supply.
Within the property, the creek threads its way through cypress and hardwood forests. Slash pine, longleaf pine and palmetto grow on the higher “ridges,” which are collectively known as Florida flatwoods.
The preserve has separate sites for equestrian, group and primitive camping. Sites have picnic tables and fire rings or grills. There is no drinking water supply in the preserve, but portable restrooms are available.
Riders will find 12 miles of trails for equestrian use. Cyclists and skaters can enjoy five miles of paved and unpaved cycling trails. During high-water periods, there is fishing along Cypress Creek, and you can get a line wet in some man-made ponds in the southern portion of the property too. Hikers can use the paved Pump Station Road at the north section of the property or choose among several miles of wooded roads.
The primary access to the preserve is from Parkway Boulevard, about a half mile north of Pine View Middle School. There is a small day-use parking area outside the gate. You can also enter the property through the gate at the west end of Pump Station Road, just off Ehren Cutoff (CR 583), midway between SR 52 and US 41. Follow the signs to Cypress Creek Wellfield. Residents from Lake Padgett Pines can access a convenient walk-thru entrance on the east side at the end of Quail Hollow Boulevard, but there is no parking available at this gate.
Cypress Creek Wellfield near the northern section of the property serves as an important source of water for the surrounding region and is managed by Tampa Bay Water. There are restricted areas around water facilities.
The preserve is easily accessible for day use as well as overnight camping. All camping is free, but requires reservations that are available online at WaterMatters.org/recreation, by fax or mail. Admission and parking are free, too, making it a low-cost nature adventure with something for everyone.
Each issue of WaterMatters features a different District property ready for you to explore. These public lands are close to home and are free or very inexpensive to use.