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Withlacoochee State Trail

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General Information

Description - The 46 mile paved route averages a span 12 feet wide comprised of asphalt. Local bicyclists, hikers, in-line skaters, joggers and dog walkers enjoy this path as part of their daily constitutional. Please note that dogs must be kept on a 6' leash. A dirt equestrian path parallels the entire route. Like many of the state's rail-trails, the state-owned tract is only 100 feet wide. Users are asked to respect private lands.

Attractions - The Withlacoochee State Trail is a lovely trail in the western area of Florida. It keeps the trailblazer busy through a number of developed areas including numerous parks and small towns. Canoeing, dining, picnicking, viewing historical sites and more are possible along the trail. At the northern terminus in Citrus Springs, a large suburban development looms. The trailhead offers a parking lot, small pavilion, restrooms, trail maps and a drinking fountain. Located several miles south, access is offered just off Citrus Springs Boulevard. This location offers access to the handicapped and provides trail maps. The Florida State Parks System has plans for creating an official trail center at this location. Continuing southbound, the town of Hernando is a fun place to spend a little time. Refreshments are easily located. A nearby county park offers picnic tables and restrooms. A little farther south a spur takes a side trip to the town of Inverness. The historic town offers a bike shop, a city park, and trail access along North Apopka Avenue. Back on the main trail, the next site is Fort Cooper State Park that charms thousands of visitors each year with its unique blend of beauty and history featuring events from the Second Seminole War. In addition, the park offers swimming, sunbathing and fishing for a small fee. Within a short distance lies another park called Floral Park but only picnic tables and restrooms are available here. Next, is your only trailside opportunity for viewing the Withlacoochee River. These opportunities fall within the small burgs of Istachatta and Nobelton. In Istachatta, river access may be found at Townsen Lake Regional Park. In Nobelton, you may want to stop and canoe a ways. Or you may wish to dine at the riverside restaurant, which offers hitching posts for equestrians. South of Nobelton, trail users incise Withlacoochee State Forest. This undeveloped area is one of the best locations for sighting wildlife along the trail. Signs of the endangered gopher tortoise are easily recognizable by the burrowing sand mounds found trailside. Look for wading birds feeding in the still wetlands. Trail users should note that a portion of the State Forest is managed as Croom Wildlife Management Area, used by hunters during designated seasons. It is advisable to wear blaze orange when traveling this segment of trail during those seasons. Several additional notes about the area: 4 miles of multi-use trail are available from the Tucker Hill Fire Tower, and the Silver Lake Recreation Area offers river access, a picnic grove and campground. The next major trail encounter will be Ridge Manor where US 98 crosses. More picnicking, restrooms, and restaurants are found here. The trails southern terminus is located near the Trilby post office.

Recreation - Recreation activities include in-line skating, hiking, horseback riding, biking, and viewing wildlife.

Climate - Florida experiences mild, comfortable winters and warm to hot, humid summers. Summer Fahrenheit temperatures average in the mid to high 80's (28 - 29 Celsius). Winters are mild and dry with temperatures averaging 58 - 64 degrees Fahrenheit (14 - 18 Celsius). Precipitation for the central area averages anywhere from 56 inches to less than 52 inches per year. The region offers a great warm escape for outdoor recreation during the cold northern months. August and September are peak months of the hurricane season that lasts from June 1 through November 30.

Location - Withlacoochee State Trail's northern trailhead is located in Citrus Springs off U.S. Highway 41. Follow signs to Magenta Drive. The southern trailhead is located immediately west of the junction of U.S. Highway 98 and Route 575, off Old Trilby Road in Trilby, which is north of Dade City.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Norman Carey (Dade City, FL)
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I have ridden many times on the trail and have been over the whole trail at some time or another. My favorite ride is a twenty mile ride from the trailhead at Ridge Manor northward to the Istachatta Store and back, ten miles each way. Three miles north of Ridge Manor the trail crosses I-75. Actually I-75 crosses the trail, the roadway is elevated and the trail remains at ground level. About a mile north of this intersection you start to get into the really wooded part of the trail, where you have woods on both sides and really feel like you are one a trail through the woods. All the while you are riding on a smooth surface without steep inclines. I like to stop at the Istachatta Store, an old fashioned General Store right by the trail in "Downtown Metropolitan" Istachatta. I usually get a Poweraid and boiled peanuts and sit a while at the homey table in the store. This is the turn around point of my usual ride. There is a nice bike shop half a mile north of the store, though,and I often like to stop in there for friendly chit chat. The shop specializes in recumbent bikes, and that is where I bought mine.

More Information

Contact Information:
Withlacoochee State Trail, 12549 State Park Drive , Clermont, FL, 34711, Phone: 352-394-2280

Additional Information:
Central Florida - Central Florida was once the cattle and citrus farming capitol of Florida. Today, it is well known for its high-tech theme parks. However, outdoor enthusiasts need not search far to find an extensive list of natural attractions.
Florida State Parks - The mission of the Florida Park Service is to provide resource-based recreation while preserving, interpreting and restoring natural and cultural resources.

Florida Division of Recreation & Parks - Official agency website.


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