Monday, February 27, 2017

Biking Florida's Croom Mountain Biking Trails

The Croom Off-Road Bike Trail is in Florida's Withlacoochee State Forest near Brookside in Hernando County. There are two mountain bike loops, the yellow loop of 12 miles and the blue loop of 32 miles. Red trails serve as crossovers to the other loop or as shortcuts, allowing riders to bike shorter or longer distances. A total of 55 miles of trails exist here. 

The main trailhead is at Tucker Hill fire tower. There is a $2 per person per day charge for using this facility (or an annual pass) but there are two more smaller parking areas farther east on Croom Road you can use without charge. A map of the loops is at the bottom of this post.

In addition to the two biking trails, there are also designated hiking and equestrian trails. Hikers may use any of the three types of trails. All are cautioned to use care when you come to a place where trails cross.

These all-weather trails wind through central Florida's longleaf pine and scrub oak rolling hillsides, with hardwood hammocks as well as cypress ponds on occasion.

Occasional patches of loose (and sometimes deep) "sugar sand" occur on the trails. Slow down and take care. I as a 71 year old do not like having to muscle through these patches. I appreciate the efforts at the Appalachicola NF trails where they trucked in red clay to cover their areas of loose sand.

The trails are well marked with colored paint circles or rectangle signs indication the yellow of blue trails, as well as the red trails that connect the trails or provide "shortcuts."

Here's a closeup of the metal signage used to identify the trails...

These trails were designed, constructed, and maintained by the stalwart members of SWAMP, the SouthWest Association Mountain bike Peddlers. and they obviously have a sense of humor and a bit of whimsy. I spotted this attached to a tree on the yellow loop and checked out the various ornamentation attached to it.

Intersections are well marked with signage and maps...

Here's a blowup of the map and a link to download it...

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