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Little Manatee River Canoe Trail

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The Little Manatee River Canoe Trail is officially designated as part of Florida’s Statewide System of Greenways and Trails. Only 25 miles from Tampa, this dark, tannin-stained trail has a sandy bottom and steep, sandy banks. Along the beautiful Little Manatee River, you will paddle through a variety of habitats including sand pine scrub, willow swampy, and hardwood forest. Look for otter, alligator, and turtles along the trail. You might even see an eagle soaring overhead. The trail ends at Little Manatee River State Park on the south bank.

Mileage: 5
Skill Level: Beginner
Difficulty: Easu tp Moderate
Usual Current: Slow (0-1 mph) to average (2-3 mph) .

Notes and Precautions

Water levels can fluctuate rapidly following heavy rains. Check for local conditions before beginning. The river is also influenced by tides. You can extend the trip by beginning at the Leonard Lee Road Bridge south of SR 674 (moderate to difficult trip – tight curves). An optional ending is at Wildcat Creek Park on Stephens Road east of US 41 (moderate trip – distance).


  1. US 301 Bridge – 4.5 miles southeast of SR 674 on US 301.
  2. Little Manatee River State Park – From US 301, 0.3 miles west on Lightfoot Road to recreation area. (Check with ranger station) (5 miles)

There may be access points (both public and private) in addition to those listed here. Please remember that some sites require a fee for launching and/or parking.

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