One of the Sunshine State's best-kept trail secrets, the Nature Coast State Trail (formerly the Nature Coast Greenway) connects five small rural townsCross City, Old Town, Fanning Springs, Trenton and Chieflandalong a T-shaped, 32-mile corridor. From the hub in Fanning Springs, you can take your pick of trips. The well-maintained asphalt path provides enough trailheads, pavilions and services to ease journeys of any length.
On the 12-mile leg northwest to Cross City via Old Town, pause at viewing areas along the old railroad trestle spanning the Suwannee River. During cooler months you may catch sight of manatees in the river below.
The 7-mile section of lightly traveled trail east of Fanning Springs leads to the quaint town of Trenton, where you'll find a trailhead, restrooms, nearby businesses and a colorful railroad mural.
On the 9-mile route southeast to Chiefland, the trail skirts hardwood hammocks along the northern boundary of Andrews Wildlife Management Area. While lucky trail users have spotted bobcats, gopher tortoises are a much more common sight.
Equestrians can access the trail at either the Old Town or Fanning Springs trailheads, where trailer parking is provided. The Fanning Springs trailhead also links up with Fanning Springs State Park, which rewards the weary with refreshing dips in cool spring waters.
Parking and Trail Access
To reach the Fanning Springs trailhead from Gainesville, take Route 26 west about 40 miles to Fanning Springs. At the T-junction with US Highway 19/98, turn right. The trailhead lies just east of the Suwannee River.
To reach the Cross City trailhead from Fanning Springs, take US Highway 19/98 north about 13 miles to Cross City, then turn east on Route 351, the last intersection before the old train depot. The trail crosses this road.
To reach the Old Town trailhead from Fanning Springs, take US Highway 19/98, 4 miles west to Old Town and turn north on Route 349. The trailhead is one block up, adjacent to the fire station.
To reach the Trenton trailhead from Fanning Springs, take Route 26, 8 miles east to Trenton and turn north on US Highway 129. The trailhead is two blocks up at the old train depot.
To reach the Chiefland trailhead, take US Highway 19/98 south to Chiefland. The trailhead is at the old train depot, two blocks south of downtown on the same road.
Office of Greenways & Trails
18020 NW Highway 19
Fanning Springs, FL 32693
Beware of boredom
Rode this trail on 10 Feb. 2013. Enjoyed the portion of the trail from Old Town to Chiefland but Old Town to Trenton just runs besides state highway 26 and is boring; I turned around and return to Fanning then rode back to Old Town.
Last ride for 2012
Before bringing in the New Year we made this ride on the final days of 2012..with a chilly start to the day of only 37 degrees! Add a few layers and the ride began. Starting in Chiefland we headed north and rode to Trenton with total peace and the trail ...
We started in Chiefland and rode our bikes to Trenton on Valentines day. Temps were in the low 70's and a little overcast. The trail had nice shade cover mixed with some sunny spots. We passed a beautiful tree forest on the way to Trenton and took a break ...