Biking the Withlacoochee State Trail in Florida

Today, I am taking you along one of the longest paved and most popular bike trails in the state of Florida. The Withlacoochee State Trail, pronounced with-la-coo-chee, navigates 46 miles of railroad history weaving through cypress swamps and canopied corridors. Soak up that “Old Florida” feel as you traverse through small towns across the route.

At 46 miles, Withlacoochee State Trail is one of Florida's longest rails to trails. Navigate through small towns, cypress swamps, and canopied corridors on this relatively flat ride.
Inverness, one of Withlacoochee State Trail Trailheads
Come along for a ride on one of Florida's longest paved paths, the Withlacoochee State Trail. Here's all the information you need to make your trip unforgettable!
I think I can, I think I can. Taking a bike ride on the Withlacoochee Trail.

Withlacoochee State Trail Details

Starting Point: Owensboro

Ending Point: Citrus Springs

Length: 46 Miles

Terrain: Mostly flat with gradual elevation changes.

Withlacoochee State Trail Trailheads: Owensboro, Trilby, Ridge Manor, Silver Lake Recreation Area, Townsen Lake Preserve, Floral City Rest Area, Fort Cooper State Park, Wallace Brooks Park, Apopka (Inverness), Lake Henderson Trestle, Hernando Beach County Park, South Citrus Springs, and Gulf Junction Trailhead.

Favorite Stretch for Stops: Inverness to Floral City

Favorite Stretch for Quiet: Istachatta to Silver Lake

Is Withlacoochee State Trail closed?

Click here for Withlacoochee State Trail Mileage Chart

DETAILED MAP, PHOTOS, AND INFORMATION BELOW

Come along for a ride on one of Florida's longest paved paths, the Withlacoochee State Trail. Here's all the information you need to make your trip unforgettable!
Um excuse me, you’re in my way!

OTHER GREAT FLORIDA DESTINATIONS: TALLAHASSEE

You never know what kind of wildlife you might spot while biking the Withlacoochee trail – a Gopher tortoise, wild Turkey, red-tailed hawk, or an alligator perhaps.

Withlacoochee State Trail from Gulf Junction to Holder – 5 Miles

Beginning in Citrus Springs at mile marker 46, we hop on our folding bikes and get pedaling. It is quiet and we have the path all to ourselves.

The trail follows Highway 41 with a thin line of trees in between with little to no shade. We welcome the sun on this March day as the air is cool and crisp. Check out the whole Withlacoochee State Trail map below. 

Withlacoochee State Trail Map in Citrus County
Florida Bike Trails – Withlacoochee State Trail Map

We come across a few backyards before being eyed up by some curious horses. Like most rail to trails, the path gradually arcs and falls with limited turns.

At 46 miles, Withlacoochee State Trail is one of Florida's longest rails to trails. Navigate through small towns, cypress swamps, and canopied corridors on this relatively flat ride.
Horse ranch along Withlacoochee State Trail Bike Ride

From Holder to Hernando – 5 Miles

We notice that all the Withlacoochee State Trail trailheads have clean bathrooms with flushing toilets and running water; something you don’t see often on bike trails. Heading south to the city of Hernando, we go in and out of shade, spotting many birds along the way.

LIKE BIKING? READ 50 BEST RIDES IN THE U.S.

At 46 miles, Withlacoochee State Trail is one of Florida's longest rails to trails. Navigate through small towns, cypress swamps, and canopied corridors on this relatively flat ride.
South Citrus Springs, one of the Withlacoochee State Trail Trailheads

It’s the first time we observe the historical railroad markers on the side of the trail.

Originally the corridor was part of the Atlantic Coast Line, stretching from Richmond, Virginia to Tampa, Florida. Lumber and phosphate industries were the first to utilize the railroad in this area as its major mode of transportation in the late nineteenth century.

At 46 miles, Withlacoochee State Trail is one of Florida's longest rails to trails. Navigate through small towns, cypress swamps, and canopied corridors on this relatively flat ride.
Historic railroad marker

During the Great Depression, business declined but sparked up again with troop trains and freight traffic related to World War II. As highways and air travel increased, the railroad business took a hit once more.

By the 1960s, service was abandoned and most of the railroad tracks were removed. Luckily for us, in the late 1980s, the state of Florida had the bright idea to purchase the land and turn it into the Withlacoochee State Trail.

Come along for a ride on one of Florida's longest paved paths, the Withlacoochee State Trail. Here's all the information you need to make your trip unforgettable!
Mile 40, Withlacoochee State Trail Mileage Chart is found on the pavement. 
At 46 miles, Withlacoochee State Trail is one of Florida's longest rails to trails. Navigate through small towns, cypress swamps, and canopied corridors on this relatively flat ride.
A few restaurants off the Withlacoochee Bike Trail.

In Hernando, there are a few options for food and drinks: The Burger Station, Sabina’s Diner, Hideaway Sports Bar, and Chicken King. The smell of the Burger Station was taunting us on the trail so we chose there for lunch.

At 46 miles, Withlacoochee State Trail is one of Florida's longest rails to trails. Navigate through small towns, cypress swamps, and canopied corridors on this relatively flat ride.
Burger Station off the Withlacoochee State Trail

It’s a simple menu to choose from: beef burgers, a Mahi Mahi burger, chicken sandwich, hot dog, fries, onion rings, and sweet potato fries. If you have room after eating a big ol’ burger, top lunch off with some ice cream.

Come along for a ride on one of Florida's longest paved paths, the Withlacoochee State Trail. Here's all the information you need to make your trip unforgettable!
Mushroom Swiss Master at the Burger Station

From Hernando to Inverness – 5 Miles

From Hernando, the buffer of trees from Interstate 41 widens and you forget about the parallel road. For about two miles, we enjoy the shade provided by the lush forest overhead. What is it about canopied trails that feel so magical?

Canopied trail on Withlacoochee Bike Trail

On the way into Inverness, we cross a bridge going over two lakes where a few lizards scurry out of the way.

We slowly get off our bikes to look around for the resident alligator that is rumored to hang around. We know the chances are slim since it’s winter and he is normally out of sight this time of year.

Come along for a ride on one of Florida's longest paved paths, the Withlacoochee State Trail. Here's all the information you need to make your trip unforgettable!
Lake near Inverness, one of the Withlacoochee State Trail Trailheads
Inverness, one of the Withlacoochee State Trail Trailheads in Florida.
The Inverness Trailhead

From Inverness to Floral City – 7 Miles

Come along for a ride on one of Florida's longest paved paths, the Withlacoochee State Trail. Here's all the information you need to make your trip unforgettable!

The Inverness to Floral City stretch is our favorite, bookmarked with two charming small towns.

Make sure to ride around both areas. Inverness has a few shops, restaurants – Stumpknockers and Joe’s Deli are great, and stop in the Old Courthouse Heritage Museum to see how many Elvis cutouts you can find. You’ll have to take the detour to find out the story behind Elvis!

Bike rentals available in Floral City and Inverness – See below for details.

At 46 miles, Withlacoochee State Trail is one of Florida's longest rails to trails. Navigate through small towns, cypress swamps, and canopied corridors on this relatively flat ride.
Downtown Inverness
City of Inverness Withlacoochee Trailhead Sign
The City of Inverness Trailhead

The trail begins at Liberty Park which cradles Henderson Lake. There you’ll find picnic tables, grills, and covered pavilions. The paved walkway takes you to a wonderful view of the lake.

Come along for a ride on one of Florida's longest paved paths, the Withlacoochee State Trail. Here's all the information you need to make your trip unforgettable!
Wallace Brooks Park in Inverness

Right next door at Wallace Brooks Park, we give our butts a break from the bike and check out a few boardwalks. We hear laughter and cheers from the children running around at the playground. Oddly enough, we hear the same thing coming from the retirees at the shuffleboard court.

We stop to ask one of the men why they have a bowling pin planted on the court. “To make things more interesting. We are trying to hone in on our skills,” he says, with a childish smile.

Between the two cities about halfway, the trail passes an opening for Fort Cooper State Park, the site of a skirmish between U.S. soldiers and native Seminoles. The fight happened during the Second Seminole War, when the Seminoles resisted the government’s attempt to relocate the tribe to Oklahoma. Now, it is home to five miles of woodland trails around Lake Holathlikaha.

*Small admission fee is required*

Come along for a ride on one of Florida's longest paved paths, the Withlacoochee State Trail. Here's all the information you need to make your trip unforgettable!
Did someone say strawberries?

Just before reaching Floral City, we see a turn off for Ferris Groves Store, where you can purchase fresh fruit, jam, smoothies, and desserts. We decide to come back and get a half flat of strawberries later since we don’t want to strap them on the back of the bike.

Come along for a ride on one of Florida's longest paved paths, the Withlacoochee State Trail. Here's all the information you need to make your trip unforgettable!
Goodies at Ferris Groves
Come along for a ride on one of Florida's longest paved paths, the Withlacoochee State Trail. Here's all the information you need to make your trip unforgettable!
Had to come back for some strawberries!

From Floral City to Istachatta – 6 Miles

Floral City, an old mining community, is home to a few great stops. You can visit the Floral City Heritage Hall Museum to learn about the history of the area, bike down the Avenue of Oaks to experience the 135-year old trees, and stop at the historic Duval House to see the oldest surviving residential structure in Citrus County.

Come along for a ride on one of Florida's longest paved paths, the Withlacoochee State Trail. Here's all the information you need to make your trip unforgettable!
Avenue of Oaks in Floral City
At 46 miles, Withlacoochee State Trail is one of Florida's longest rails to trails. Navigate through small towns, cypress swamps, and canopied corridors on this relatively flat ride.
Duval House, constructed 1865-66

Floral City is also a fantastic spot to stop for lunch. The Shamrock Inn has ice-cold beer and daily specials; they are well-known for big burgers and buffalo wings.

At 46 miles, Withlacoochee State Trail is one of Florida's longest rails to trails. Navigate through small towns, cypress swamps, and canopied corridors on this relatively flat ride.
Fun stop at the Shamrock Inn

Down the path, we find a sign commemorating the spot where one of the worst train disasters in Florida’s history took place. Learning a bit of Florida history while biking is entertaining. Aside from the railroad marker, the ride to Istachatta is uneventful; a nice smooth ride.

At 46 miles, Withlacoochee State Trail is one of Florida's longest rails to trails. Navigate through small towns, cypress swamps, and canopied corridors on this relatively flat ride.
Beautiful day on the Withlacoochee State Trail

Istachatta to Silver Lake Recreation Area – 7 Miles

The section between Istachatta and Silver Lake cuts right through the Withlacoochee State Forest and Croom Wildlife Management Area. It is the most peaceful segment with the least amount of street crossings and people.

At 46 miles, Withlacoochee State Trail is one of Florida's longest rails to trails. Navigate through small towns, cypress swamps, and canopied corridors on this relatively flat ride.
Withlacoochee State Trail Bike Ride

We take a bathroom break at Lake Townsen Regional Park where we find out we are biking in the footsteps of the Spanish conquistador, Hernando de Soto. His Florida expedition took him to this very location. At 46 miles, Withlacoochee State Trail is one of Florida's longest rails to trails. Navigate through small towns, cypress swamps, and canopied corridors on this relatively flat ride.

At 46 miles, Withlacoochee State Trail is one of Florida's longest rails to trails. Navigate through small towns, cypress swamps, and canopied corridors on this relatively flat ride.
Picnic area at Lake Townsen

Our biking adventure ends near the Silver Lake Recreation Area, we will have to come back to finish the eleven miles on the southern end of the trail. The Withlacoochee State Trail packs a lot of history and nature on one fun path!

Thanks for taking the ride with us!

⇓ See below for details on planning your trip ⇓

Withlacoochee State Trail Bike Rental Info

Places to Stay near Withlacoochee State Trail

Withlacoochee State Trail Camping

  • Silver Lake Campground in Brooksville
  • Croom Tract in Withlacoochee State Forest (Primitive)
  • Riverside Lodge RV Resort in Inverness
  •  Fort Cooper State Park in Inverness

Things to Do near Withlacoochee State Trail

The region near Withlacoochee State Trail is rich in outdoor activities. Check out other fun things to do in the area!

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At 46 miles, Withlacoochee State Trail is one of Florida's longest rails to trails. Navigate through small towns, cypress swamps, and canopied corridors on this relatively flat ride.

At 46 miles, Withlacoochee State Trail is one of Florida's longest rails to trails. Navigate through small towns, cypress swamps, and canopied corridors on this relatively flat ride.

8 Responses

  1. Jenn and Ed Coleman

    We will definitely be riding the Withlacoochee before I learn how to pronounce it. 46 miles on a folding bike and in blue jeans, you guys are troopers. We just did 20 miles on the West Orange Trail (Orlando) last weekend. Give us a holler if you want you to go riding in Central Florida again.

    • Dang Travelers

      Hahaha! It’s With-la-coochie. Oh no, it wasn’t all in one day. We were in the area for a week so we rode sections. I haven’t heard of that trail before but it sounds great! We will have to remember that next time we are in Orlando.

  2. Karla

    I havent tried cycling for that long but I won’t lie I’ve been wanting to. I especially love this trail where there are lots to see. I would definitely stop by for wings. That would be a good break in between cycling. Perhaps I should gear up and practice cycling more for trips like this.

  3. knycx.journeying

    Wow, a wonderful trail with amazing views of lake and lush. It’s interesting to meet with alligators and curious horses along the way. Biking is also my passion in traveling so thanks for sharing with us with some great ideas! @ knycx.journeying

  4. Pola | Jetting Around

    I wish I had known about this when I visited Florida on several occasions. I don’t get on a bike enough, and I can see myself enjoying this trail! Small towns, beautiful weather, and those strawberries! Sold 🙂

  5. Bell | Wanderlust Marriage

    That looks like an amazing trail, and I love those oak trees!! How long did it take you guys? We have family in Florida and are down there often, and love finding off the beaten path spots to visit. Thanks for sharing this cool trip!

    • Dang Travelers

      Hey Jim! I don’t know of any that are right on the trail but Inverness has two that are not too far from it. The Lake House B&B has good reviews but we’ve never stayed there.

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