This trail has been adopted by: Tammy B. (What's this?)

Florida

Withlacoochee State Trail

Now an award-winning rail-trail, the Withlacoochee State Trail is enjoyed by more than 350,000 hikers, cyclists, skaters, runners, and horseback riders every year.

photo: Dog walker on trail. Photo by FL Office of Greenways.

Length: 47.00 miles
Loop Trail? No
Type: Rail Trail
Agency: State
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

Allowed Uses:

Bicycling (on pavement)
Dogs - On leash
Equestrian - Riding
Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running
Roller/Inline Skating
Wildlife Observation

See more details.

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Location: The trail begins just south of Dunnellon in Citrus Springs (Citrus County) and extends 46 miles
State(s): Florida
Counties: Citrus, Hernando, Pasco
Longitude: -82.218837
Latitude: 28.544630

Driving Directions

Hernando Trailhead: N 28.8990 W -82.3755
On railroad street one block west on CR 486 from the intersection of US Hwy 41 & CR 486 in Hernando.

Parking and use of the Withlacoochee State Trail are free, but donations to the Friends of the Withlacoochee State Trail (FOTWST.org) are appreciated on both the website and in the "iron ranger" at the Inverness Trailhead.

Parking is available at all trailheads, plus in grass parking areas located at crossroads.


Gulf Junction Trailhead: N 29.0274 W -82.4714
South of Dunnellon, off US 41, west on Martinelli Boulevard to Magenta, then south approximately 1/4 mile. Trailhead is on the right.

South Citrus Springs Trailhead: N 28.9754 W -82.4300
In Citrus Springs, off of US 41, turn west on South Citrus Springs Boulevard approximately 1/4 mile. Trailhead is on left.

Inverness Trailhead: (N 28.8406 W -82.3308) Once entering the Inverness city limits on Hwy. 41 South, proceed to North Apopka Avenue. Go left approximately 3/10 of a mile and look for a red caboose and signage for the Withlacoochee State Trail.

Ridge Manor Trailhead: N 28.5268 W -82.2189
From I-75, exit 301, take us 98/50. Head east on US 98/50 approximately one mile to Croom Rital Road. Take a left and proceed to trailhead.

From Brooksville, take US 98/50 east to Croom Rital Road, approximately one mile past the I-75 Interchange. Take a left and proceed to trailhead.

Trilby Trailhead: N 28.4627 W -82.1962 - Approximately 1 mile west of US 301 off US 98 on CR 575 in Trilby.

Owensboro Junction Trailhead/US 301: N 28.4459 W -82.1891 - From I-75, take exit 301 and head east on US98/50. At the US 98/50 Junction take US 98 southeast to US 301, then head south on US 301 approximately one mile to the parking area on the west (right) side of US 301. From US 301, the parking area is on the west side of US 301, approximately one mile south of the US 98/301 junction.

Description


This trail was traveled by a
NRT Ambassador on 07/24/2019.

The 47-mile-long route of the Withlacoochee State Trail is steeped in history going back to pre-Columbian native peoples, Hernando de Soto’s trek north in 1536, Seminole Indian Wars in the 1830’s, and a phosphate mining boom and Henry B. Plant’s railroad from the 1890s.

Now an award-winning rail-trail, the Withlacoochee State Trail is enjoyed by more than 350,000 hikers, cyclists, skaters, runners, and horseback riders every year.

The corridor was one of the first purchased under the Florida Rails to Trails Program in the 1980’s. Managed by the Florida Park Service, the WST is officially designated as part of Florida's Statewide System of Greenways and Trails.

The WST is a 12-foot wide, paved trail with modern facilities at six trailheads, in addition to many county and city parks. An unpaved equestrian trail parallels portions of the paved trail. The WST connects three counties (Citrus, Hernando and Pasco) and offers an enjoyable, varied journey through small towns, parks, forest, ranches and natural communities. The quaint, historic towns of Trilby, Nobleton, Floral City, Hernando, and Inverness stand in peaceful contrast to the theme parks and bustling atmosphere of Central Florida – and the provide opportunities to get some ice cream, a cold beer, a meal or quick snack.

Like most rail-trails in Florida, the WST is generally flat, offering an easy ride or run for all skill levels. Reminders of the Trail's historic railroad activity include original cement mileposts and whistle markers, the Lake Henderson Trestle (rebuilt by trail volunteers in 2013) and the historic 1892 Inverness Depot. The Trail's extremely dedicated volunteer group, The Friends of the Withlacoochee State Trail (formerly Rails to Trails of the Withlacoochee, Inc.) relocated and restored a 1925 caboose for the Inverness trailhead. The Friends have also enhanced the Trail with interpretive signage highlighting points of interest and natural resources, bluebird nest boxes, and many picnic shelters, covered tables, and benches along the entire length of the trail. A favorite photo spot is in front of the iconic mural in Inverness, which features some of the wildlife that can be seen along the trail. The mural was created by volunteers.

The word “Withlacoochee” is an Indian word meaning "crooked river”; the trail roughly follows the path of the Withlacoochee River, its floodplain and the Tsala Apopka chain of lakes.

As it winds through six distinct natural communities, the WST offers rich opportunities for viewing wildlife. The diverse habitats of upland mixed forests, sand hill and wetland communities are home to gopher tortoises and other native plant and animal species. Trail users regularly report glimpses of bobcats, river otters, coyotes, turkeys, deer, squirrels, bears, alligators, and a great variety of snakes, birds and insects. During the summer months, trail users thrill at the sight of families of swallow-tailed kites soaring above. Endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers and indigo snakes are occasionally seen along the trail.

The Trail traverses a region that offers many other outstanding recreational opportunities: the unpaved and motorized trails in the Croom area of the Withlacoochee State Forest; the Withlacoochee River Canoe Trail; swimming and camping at Fort Cooper State Park; camping, fishing and boating at Silver Lake in the Withlacoochee State Forest; swimming at Hernando Beach County Park and Wallace Brooks Park; a fishing pier at Wallace Brooks Parks; picnicking and river access at Nobleton Wayside Park and the Floral Park day use area, which boasts a disk golf course. A whimsical new playground was opened adjacent to the trail at Liberty Park in Inverness in 2019.

The WST is part of the Heart of Florida Loop and the Coast to Coast (C2C) Connector. It connects to the Good Neighbor Trail near Mile 11, giving trail users easy access to Brooksville and the Suncoast Trail. It connects to the north with the Dunnellon section of the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway, and to the south to a widewalk bordering US301 south to Dade City and Zephyrhills. At mile 36 in the town of Hernando, Citrus County’s Cross-County Trail intersects, giving safe access to Crystal River.

Annual Events

Annual Bike Ride on the Withlacoochee State Trail occurs annually on the first Sunday in October. The event is sponsored by the Friends of the Withlacoochee State Trail to raise funds for trail improvements, as well as to give cyclists a fully supported and very enjoyable experience on the WST. About 1000 riders of all levels choose their own distance up to a full century, and enjoy both breakfast and lunch at the Inverness Trailhead. This is widely known as the “cookie ride” for the treats available at each of seven rest stops.
The corridor was one of the first purchased under the Florida Rails to Trails Program. Managed by the Florida Park Service, the WST is officially designated as part of Florida's Statewide System of Greenways and Trails.

The 46-mile WST is a 12-foot wide, paved trail. An unpaved equestrian trail parallels portions of the paved trail. The WST traverses three counties (Citrus, Hernando and Pasco) and offers an enjoyable, varied journey through small towns, ranches and natural communities. As it makes its way south from Citrus Springs to Trilby, the Trail seems to lead visitors back through time. The WST's northern trailhead is situated next to a modern, suburban setting while halfway down the Trail visitors have access to small towns that reflect the comfortable lifestyles of some forty years ago. As they approach the southern end of the Trail, visitors can drift yet another step back in time as the quaint, historic town of Trilby stands in peaceful contrast to the relatively nearby theme parks and bustling atmosphere of Central Florida.

Like most rail-trails in Florida, the WST is generally flat, offering an easy ride for all skill levels. Reminders of the Trail's historic railroad activity include cement mileage and whistle markers, the Lake Henderson Trestle and the privately owned Inverness Depot which was built in 1982. The Trail's extremely dedicated citizen support organization (CSO), Rails to Trails of the Withlacoochee, relocated and restored a 1925 caboose for the Inverness trailhead. The red caboose now serves as a symbolic, welcoming landmark which volunteers hope will ultimately house a small museum of railroad memorabilia. The Withlacoochee's CSO has also enhanced the Trail with the installation of a 20-station health and fitness circuit near the Inverness trailhead and interpretive signage highlighting points of interest and natural resources along the Trail.

The WST is named for an Indian word meaning "crooked river." One of the Trail's most prominent natural features results from its intersection in several locations with the nearby Withlacoochee River's floodplain, which, along with scenic Lake Henderson and the Tsala-Apopka chain of lakes, attracts many species of birds. As it winds through six distinct natural communities, the WST offers rich opportunities for viewing wildlife. The diverse habitats of upland mixed forests, sand hill and wetland communities are home to gopher tortoises and other native plant and animal species. Transient wildlife species include bobcats, feral hogs, river otters, turkeys, deer, squirrels, and a great variety of snakes, birds and insects.

The Trail traverses a region that offers many other outstanding recreational opportunities. Among the recreational highlights nearby are the unpaved and motorized trails in the Croom area of the Withlacoochee State Forest; the Withlacoochee River (South) Canoe Trail; swimming and camping at Fort Cooper State Park; camping, fishing and boating at Silver Lake in the Withlacoochee State Forest; swimming at Hernando Beach County Park; a fishing pier at Wallace Brooks Parks; picnicking and river access at Nobleton Wayside Park and the Floral Park day use area. The WST will eventually join many other trails in the region, becoming part of the Heart of Florida Loop and the Coast to Coast Connector.

Annual Events

Rails to Trails Bike Ride – occurs annually, usually in October. The event is sponsored by the Rails to Trails of the Withlacoochee, the trail's citizen support organization, as a way to raise funds for trail improvements. Participants can choose a 14-mile, 32-mile, 60-mile, or 92-mile route. There is also an eight-mile on-road option. In 2008, attendance was reported at 1,350. Visit railstotrailsonline.com for more information.

Citrus County 5K Breast Cancer Walk - occurs annually, usually in October with approximately 200 participants. This event raises money for Citrus County breast cancer programs.

Bike Ride for Human Life - occurs annually, usually in September with approximately 200 participants. Participants bike round trip from Inverness to Floral City on the WST to raise funds for Citrus County Right-To-Life.

Clean Air Bike Ride - occurs annually, usually in March with approximately 800 registered riders. Participants can choose a 14-mile, 28-mile, 48-mile, or 100-mile route. Proceeds from this event benefit the Key Trailing Center for Developmentally Disabled Adults in Citrus County. Visit cleanairride.com for more information.

Firecracker 5K Run - occurs in July with approximately 200 participants. This event is part of the City of Inverness' Patriotic Evening event held in Liberty and Wallace Brooks Parks. Proceeds from this event benefit the Dream Society which provides assistance to physically disabled persons within Citrus County.

Additional Details

Width: 127 inches.
Primary Surface: Asphalt
Secondary Surface: None
Elevation Low Point: Not Available
Elevation High Point: Not Available
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available

Year Designated:
2011

Supporting Webpages and Documents

Document: Brochure
Website: American Trails Featured NRT
Website: Trail Information

Contact Information

For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.

Trail Management:
Christopher Raby
Fort Cooper State Park
3100 S. Old Floral City Road
Inverness, FL 34450
352-726-0315
[email protected]

Certification Contact:
Harry Mitchell
Manager, Withlacoochee State Trail
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
3100 Old Floral City Road
Inverness, FL 34450
(352) 726-0315
[email protected]
http://www.floridastateparks.org/withlacoochee/

 

Photos

 Photo by Heather Nagy.

Photo by Heather Nagy.

 Photo by Heather Nagy.

Photo by Heather Nagy.

 

 Photo by FL Office of Greenways.

Photo by FL Office of Greenways.

Cyclists at River Landing. Photo by FL Office of Greenways.

Cyclists at River Landing. Photo by FL Office of Greenways.

 

Dog walker on trail. Photo by FL Office of Greenways.

Dog walker on trail. Photo by FL Office of Greenways.

 

 Photo by Tammy B.

Photo by Tammy B.

 Photo by Tammy B.

Photo by Tammy B.

 

I see the light. Photo by Brian A. Bisson.

I see the light. Photo by Brian A. Bisson.

 Photo by Heather Nagy.

Photo by Heather Nagy.

 

 Photo by Heather Nagy.

Photo by Heather Nagy.

 Photo by Heather Nagy.

Photo by Heather Nagy.

 

 Photo by Heather Nagy.

Photo by Heather Nagy.

 Photo by Heather Nagy.

Photo by Heather Nagy.

 

 Photo by Heather Nagy.

Photo by Heather Nagy.

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