Florida

Seven Mile Loop Trail

This 7.25 mile long trail offers hikers and cyclists access to some of Florida’s unique habitats – salt marsh, tidal creeks, coastal estuary, oak hammock, and pine flatwoods – as they follow two-track limestone paths left from historic uses of this land. The varied habitats allow a plethora of wildlife to flourish year-round, including several rare and endangered species. The trail is tidally influenced, and can be wet or flooded at times.

photo: Seven Mile Loop Trail at Sunrise

Length: 7.25 miles
Loop Trail? Yes
Type: Backcountry, Mountain Bike Trail, Nature Trail
Agency: State
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

Allowed Uses:

Bicycling (off pavement)
Dogs - On leash
Heritage and History
Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running
Wildlife Observation

See more details.

 

Location: In Crystal River Preserve State Park in Crystal River, Florida
State(s): Florida
Counties: Citrus
Longitude: -82.63622
Latitude: 28.91929

Driving Directions

Head north on US19 from downtown Crystal River. A quarter-mile north of the light at Turkey Oak Drive, watch for the brown signs indicating State Park Drive. Turn left (west) and go 1.6 miles to the trailhead.

Description

The Seven Mile Loop Trail in the Crystal River Preserve State Park offers hikers and cyclists the opportunity to explore the “Real Florida” as they travel through diverse coastal habitats. The trail is primarily on limestone two-tracks remaining from historic uses of the land, including logging, limestone mining, turpentine production, and ranching which occurred before the land became a Florida State Park in 2004. It is suitable for hiking, running, mountain biking and gravel grinding. It crosses several freshwater tidal creeks that offer opportunities for wildlife viewing, photography, or quiet appreciation of the extraordinary beauty of this unique place.

The scenery on the loop is extremely varied, from wide-open views across miles of sawgrass and needlerush salt marsh, to shady tree tunnels formed by the spreading limbs of Live Oak trees. It’s never boring, and always scenic.

Elevation changes on this trail are measured in inches, not feet, but those subtle rises and dips bring about noticeable differences in vegetation. The trail passes through a variety of Florida habitats, including pine flatwoods, oak hammock, salt marsh, creeks, and freshwater swamps. This variety allows for a vast array of wildlife to flourish. Hikers and cyclists regularly see deer, otters, alligators, squirrels, rabbits, crabs, tortoises, turtles, and armadillos. Wild hogs, perhaps descendants of escaped livestock from Hernando de Soto’s 1539 exploration of the area, are also occasionally spotted. Quiet, early hikers are often elated to get a glimpse of a bobcat, or to see footprints of deer in the soft mud. The imperiled ornate diamondback terrapin is sometimes seen sunning on exposed limestone banks of the tidal creeks, and elusive indigo snakes are a rare treat in the upland areas.

This trail is a designated stop on the Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail, and is a birding hotspot year-round, but especially during spring and fall migrations. Even those who are not “birders” can enjoy many kinds of large wading birds such as herons, egrets, and ibises, and upland species such as turkeys and Sandhill Cranes. Bald Eagles nest in the preserve, and are often seen soaring above the trail, or perching in pines. The startlingly pink Roseate Spoonbill is a favorite of hikers.

With its location on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, this trail is tidally influenced and can be wet, muddy, or flooded at times, especially during the summer (May through September). It remains open every day (except when under hurricane warning) for those who want an adventure.

There are several benches along the trail to stop for a rest or to take in the vast scenery. There are no restrooms, and there is no potable water on the trail; the closest facilities are at the State Park Office on Sailboat Avenue. It is recommended that hikers and cyclists bring or wear insect repellent and sunscreen, carry a cell phone, and bring plenty of water. Although the trail is basically level, hikers should wear sturdy shoes. This trail is a popular destination during the dry, cooler, winter months, but in all seasons, hikers need to be prepared for hot, humid afternoons, and possible afternoon thunderstorms. Most hikers take 3 to 5 hours to complete the loop, and gravel bikers take 1 to 2 hours.

The Seven Mile Loop Trail passes through areas where ancient people made their camps for more than 12,000 years. Although most are unmarked, more than 100 archaeologically significant sites are protected within the boundaries of CRPSP. These include pre-Columbian shell middens and campsites. (Florida
State law prohibits digging for or collecting artifacts on state-owned lands.) For more information about the archaeology of the area, visitors are encouraged to visit the museum and mounds of Crystal River Archaeological State Park, adjacent to the preserve.

Additional Details

Width: 127 inches.
Primary Surface: Crushed Rock
Secondary Surface: Sand
Soil

Maximum Grade: 4%
Elevation Low Point: 3
Elevation High Point: 3
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available

Year Designated:
2022

Supporting Webpages and Documents

Map: Seven Mile area overview map

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.

Barbara Roberts
Park Manager, Crystal River Preserve State Park
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
3266 N. Sailboat Avenue
Crystal River, FL 34428
(352)228-6028
[email protected]

 

Photos

The trail passes through a variety of Florida habitats. Photo by Michael Grier.

The trail passes through a variety of Florida habitats. Photo by Michael Grier.

The trail passes through a variety of Florida habitats. Photo by Olivia Morrison.

The trail passes through a variety of Florida habitats. Photo by Olivia Morrison.

 

Trailhead and parking. Photo by Olivia Morrison.

Trailhead and parking. Photo by Olivia Morrison.

Trailhead entrance and kiosk. Photo by Olivia Morrison.

Trailhead entrance and kiosk. Photo by Olivia Morrison.

 

Ibis in flight. Photo by Heather Nagy.

Ibis in flight. Photo by Heather Nagy.

Palm reflections. Photo by Heather Nagy.

Palm reflections. Photo by Heather Nagy.

 

Natures artwork. Photo by Heather Nagy.

Natures artwork. Photo by Heather Nagy.

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