Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Biking Florida's Withlacoochee State Trail

The Withlacoochee State Trail is the longest of Florida's multitude of paved rail-trails at 46 miles. We began at the northern terminus. The trailhead lot can be reached off US Highway 41, one mile south of Dunnellon, turn right onto Martinelli, drive to the end, turn left on Magenta to the lot. The 12 foot wide trail is paved, has shaded rest benches at regular intervals, and has an equestrian trail running alongside it. The mileage to each end of the trail is painted on the pavement every mile.

This segment of the trail parallels Highway 41, but even when the road is near the trail, trees block most views and mask traffic noise. Similarly, few houses back up to the trail, and trees are the most abundant objects seen. The trail is a succession of gently rising and falling hills which cumulatively make for a nice workout through the scenic terrain. Enjoy spotting the gopher tortoises that populate the sides of the trails, often scurrying into their burrow when you approach.

This lovely 1/2 mile trail takes you to Central Ridge District Park...

About mile 13 (from the south) you'll see and a path with a sign saying "river" which in about 100 feet takes you to the namesake river seen below.  It's well worth the side trip!

Inverness is a nice section of the trail since there are several lakes alongside the trail (seen below) and two very nice parking lots with facilities.

This trail map depicts the entire 46 mile trail. I've biked the middle section in the past and have photos and info here. I have also biked the southernmost segment as reported here. (You can enlarge this map by clicking it.)

The Florida State website has info and a trail map here.

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