TAMPA — You still have time to win an award in the annual Hiking Spree along Hillsborough County’s trails.
Or, if you want to let your competitive side subside, you can just enjoy the experience.
The county’s trails offer a variety of scenery to take in, from palmetto scrub to swampland to pines and meadows to grand views of Tampa Bay.
For the second year, Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation is holding its Hiking Spree, challenging participants to hike eight of the 20 trails listed on the county’s web site by March 31, or a trail elsewhere. People who complete the task get a metal shield or a patch to commemorate the accomplishment. It’s based on the honor system.
The county reached its goal of drawing more than 1,000 participants, and this year so far some 3,500 people have taken up the challenge, according to Todd Pratt, a Hillsborough county spokesman.
Participants may hike on their own, with family and friends, special interest groups, or through one of the guided park staff hikes. Some sites have entrance and parking fees.
Trails can be found throughout the county, from Upper Tampa Bay Conservation Park near Oldsmar to Lithia Springs Conservation Park near Lithia to Lower Green Swamp Nature Preserve near Plant City.
You must register for the Hiking Spree to track your hikes and receive your award. Download the trail checklist to report your hikes, including the Hiker’s Choice - Anywhere on Earth option.
Go to hillsboroughcounty.org/en/search?q=Hiking+Spree to register and see a list of the trails.
Trails are ranked by class — all purpose, basic or primitive — and difficulty — easy, moderate or strenuous.