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The 46-mile Withlacoochee State Trail is a must-do pure Florida experience for any trail enthusiast. Situated between Orlando and Tampa, it hosts a steady stream of visitors and locals on its paved path and adjacent equestrian trail.
For much of its length, the trail parallels the Withlacoochee River, a state-designated paddling trail. The best place to catch river views and put in your canoe or kayak is at Nobelton Wayside Park, about 8 miles south of Floral City. From here the trail crosses the Withlacoochee State Forest and Croom Wildlife Management Area, where it intersects with the Good Neighbor Trail which heads west to Brooksville. In the mornings and early evenings expect to see deer along this roughly 6-mile stretch. Near the southern boundary, Silver Lake Recreation Area offers year-round camping. Several miles farther south is the heavily used Ridge Manor trailhead, just off US 98/SR 50. Fortunately, a state-of-the-art overpass leads safely across the congested roadway. The trail continues, lined with trees on both sides, until it ends just before meeting US 98/SR 50 again.
The Withlacoochee's length, popularity and proximity to numerous communities have given rise to five trailheads, information kiosks, colorful murals and convenient parks. Although the trail makes for a long journey, food and drink are never too far as you travel southbound through Citrus Springs, Inverness, Floral City, Istachatta and Trilby. At it's northern most end, it meets the Dunnellon Trail, which serves as a connector to the Greenway System.
To reach the Gulf Junction trailhead from Dunnellon, take US 41 south and turn right on Magenta Drive. Follow Magenta to the marked trailhead on the left.
To reach the South Citrus Springs trailhead, continue south on US 41 to South Citrus Springs Boulevard and head west one block. The trailhead is on the left.
To reach the Inverness trailhead, continue south on US 41 to Inverness and turn left on North Apopka Avenue. The marked trailhead is a few blocks up North Apopka.
To reach the Ridge Manor trailhead, take I-75 to Exit 301 and head east on US 98/SR 50. After about 1 mile, turn left on Croom Rital Road and look for the trailhead on the right.
To reach the Owensboro Junction trailhead from Trilby, head south on US 301/98. The trailhead lies just south of town on the right.
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