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Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park

 Activities at Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park

Cabins

Cabins

Sixteen cabins overlook Little Lake Johnson. Linens and towels are provided at the beginning of your stay. For an extended stay, please bring extra towels. We do not provide beach towels. All cabins include rocking chairs, a picnic table, a ground grill and fully equipped kitchen. Each kitchen includes a refrigerator/freezer, stove and basic cooking and eating utensils. Firewood can be purchased at the ranger station. 

Historic Cabins (Cabins 101 - 109) Nine rustic cabins were built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Each cabin accommodates up to four people. Rustic cabins include one full size bed and one futon that will sleep two people. The cabins have a combined living room/bedroom, a separate bathroom and a separate fully equipped kitchen. Bathrooms are furnished with flush toilets and hot and cold water showers. Two CCC cabins (Numbers 101 and 109) are equipped with standard size bathtubs. If you would like one of these cabins, please specify this when making reservations. Rustic cabins have electric heating and cooling units, ceiling fans and wood burning fireplaces. Firewood collection within the park is prohibited, but you can purchase firewood at the ranger station.

Block Cabins (Cabins 110 - 114) Five block cabins each accommodate up to six people and include a full size bed, bunk bed and one futon that each sleeps two people. Each has a bedroom, a living room, a bathroom and a fully equipped kitchen. The bathrooms have a standard size bathtub and shower. These cabins have ceiling fans and central heating and cooling, but they do not have fireplaces. 

Modern Cabins (Cabins 115 - 116) Two ADA-accessible cabins can accommodate up to six people. These spacious cabins have a living room, bathroom, two bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen and a screened porch. Cabins include a full size bed in the master bedroom, two twin beds in the second bedroom and a pull out couch in the living room. These cabins have central heating and cooling, ceiling fans and a gas fireplace available for use between October 1st and April 30th.

For the guest's relaxation, televisions and phones are not provided.

Reservations may be made up to 11 months in advance through ReserveAmerica. Book Online or call (800) 326-3521 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.) or TDD (888) 433-0287. Pets are not permitted in cabins. 

There is a minimum two nights stay in cabins on weekends and holidays, either Friday and Saturday night, or Saturday and Sunday nights. A single Friday or Saturday night may be reserved only if the following Saturday or Sunday night is already reserved.

Cabin Rental:
$65.00 per night, plus tax, Rustic cabins.
$75.00 per night, plus tax, Block cabins.
$100.00 per night, plus tax, Modern ADA-accessible cabins.

View the photo gallery.

Campfire Circles

Campfire Circles

Each of our campsites is equipped with electricity, water, picnic table and a ground grill. The grill has a swing over the top that also serves as a fire ring for campfires. Guests are able to purchase firewood at the park or bring some with them, however gathering of downed wood is not permitted.

Camping, Full Facility

Camping, Full Facility

Three campgrounds at the park provide 73 campsites that accommodate tents, trailers and motorized campers. A dump station is available. Each site includes a picnic table, grill and water. Electricity is available except at Lakeview sites 57 and 60 through 67. Two ADA sites, 58 and 59, are located in the Lakeview Camp area loop. The restroom located in the Lakeview loop is ADA accessible. Each of the three camp areas has a centrally located restroom with hot/cold showers. Leashed, well behaved and attended pets are allowed within the three campground loops but not in the swimming area, group and primitive camps or buildings. Campgrounds are near hiking trails and freshwater lakes. Canoe rentals are available.

Maximum RV length = 45 ft.

Reservations: Reservations may be made up to 11 months in advance through ReserveAmerica. Book Online or call (800) 326-3521 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.) or TDD (888) 433-0287.

Participation Requirements

Camping, Group

Camping, Group

Three group campsites are available for faith-based groups, scouts, family reunions and civic clubs. Each site has shared access to water, an outside cold water shower and restroom with flushing toilets. Electricity is not available. Picnic tables and a ground fire ring are provided. Each group site will accommodate 25 people. Group campsites are equipped for tent camping. Reservations are recommended. To make group camping reservations call the park at (352) 473-4701, Monday through Thursday.

Participation Requirements

Camping, Primitive

Camping, Primitive

Two primitive campsites are located within the southern end of the park just off the Florida National Scenic Trail. These sites include a picnic table, fire ring and a pavilion. There is no water or electricity in the primitive campground. Sites accommodate up to 6 people each. The primitive camping area is a hike-in site, inaccessible by vehicles. The hike is approximately 3/4 mile from the picnic area to the primitive campsites. Campers are required to pack in all supplies and pack out all trash. Collecting firewood is prohibited, but you can purchase firewood at the ranger station. Call the park for reservations at (352) 473-4701.

Participation Requirements

Canoeing & Kayaking

Canoeing & Kayaking

Enjoy the beauty of Little Lake Johnson by canoe. Canoe rentals are available. Rates: $4.00 per hour, $10.00 per ½ day
(4 hours), and $20.00 per day (8 hours).  Contact the park for water levels (352-473-4701).

Family Reunions

Family Reunions

An enclosed ADA-accessible recreation building can be rented for activities such as wedding parties, family reunions, meetings, etc.  Maximum capacity is 75 people, with tables and chairs provided for that amount.  The building is located within our picnic area and has central heating and cooling, a service counter, ceiling fans, media screen, and porch with picnic tables, kitchen and restrooms. 

 

To make a reservation, call the park at 352-473-4701, Monday through Thursday.

Rental fee:  $125.00 plus tax per day.

Fishing

Fishing

Fishing is permitted at Gold Head. Little Lake Johnson has a population of pan fish, catfish and bass. The lake levels are low currently and fishing is not as good as it can be. A fishing license may be required.

Geo-Seeking

Geo-Seeking

The Florida State Parks Civilian Conservation Corps Geotrail is now at www.Geocaching.com. Nine parks were built by the CCC and Works Progress Administration in the 1930s. Search for all nine caches and end at the CCC Museum at Highlands Hammock State Park and receive a commemorative geocoin. GC codes: GC38Y93 Fort Clinch State Park
GC3BG4G Florida Caverns State Park
GC3D02X Highlands Hammock State Park
GC3BG4A Hillsborough River State Park
GC3ABB5 Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park
GC3BG4N Myakka River State Park
GC3ABBC O'Leno State Park
GC38Y8V Ravine Gardens State Park
GC3BG4E Torreya State Park
GC38Y9F Florida State Parks FINAL CCC Cache - located in Highlands Hammock State Park.

Hiking/Nature Trail

Hiking/Nature Trail

There are four marked trails within Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park. These trails vary in length from a short 10-minute walk to a full three-hour hike that we recommend for the experienced hiker. The Ravine Ridge meanders along the upper ridge of the ravine between the ravine stairway and the mill site. Hikers can see the contrasts between the sandhill and ravine communities. The Loblolly Trail loop begins and ends at the mill site and winds through the largest loblolly pines in the park. The shortest trail is Fern Loop, which begins at the ravine stairway and passes by the headsprings of Gold Head Branch.

The Florida National Scenic Trail traverses the park and is 5.44 miles long. It begins near the entrance gate and covers some of the park's high country. This trail is maintained by Florida Trail Association volunteers.

While walking any of these trails you will have the opportunity to see such wildlife as Sherman fox squirrels, southeastern kestrel, red tailed hawk, bald eagles, fox, deer and various water and wading birds.

Participation Requirements

Horse/Equestrian Trail

Horse/Equestrian Trail

A seven mile trail ride along the sandhills and scrubs takes the horse enthusiast to a picnic area overlooking Big Lake Johnson. This trail is rated intermediate because of the soft sand on the trail. Water is available for horses at the equestrian parking site. All horse riders are required to have proof of negative Coggins on their person or in their saddlebag.

Participation Requirements

Meetings & Retreats

Meetings & Retreats

An enclosed ADA-accessible recreation building can be rented for activities such as wedding parties, family reunions, meetings, etc.  Maximum capacity is 75 people, with tables and chairs provided for that amount.  The building is located within our picnic area and has central heating and cooling, a service counter, ceiling fans, media screen, and porch with picnic tables, kitchen and restrooms. 

 

To make a reservation, call the park at 352-473-4701, Monday through Thursday.

Rental fee:  $125.00 plus tax per day.

Pets

Pets

Well-behaved dogs are welcome at Gold Head Branch State Park. They must be kept on a 6-foot leash at all times and can not be left unattended for more than a half-hour. Dogs are not permitted in our cabins, cabin area, group or primitive camping areas, swimming area or beach.

Picnicking

Picnicking

The Park has a large picnic area overlooking "Little Lake Johnson". The area contains many tables and grills as well as an athletic field, volleyball net and horseshoe pits.

There are eight (8)-covered shelters available. They vary in size and can accommodate 16 to 100 people. All picnic pavilions have tables and grills. They are available on a first come first served basis or can be reserved for a fee up to 11 months in advance by calling the park or in person.

A children's playground is centrally located in the picnic area.

Recycling

Recycling

There are recycle bins provided throughout the park for aluminum and plastic.  Thanks for pitching in!

Swimming

Swimming

Swimming is popular in Little Lake Johnson. The sandy lake shore leads visitors to the swimming area located in the main use area of the park. There are plenty of picnic tables in the adjacent area for visitor enjoyment. The fresh water lake is fed from a seepage spring that travels through a ravine and eventually makes its way to the lake.

The swimming area is located within easy walking distance from the cabins. Please carefully watch children and non-swimmers; no lifeguard is on duty.  Contact the park for water levels (352-473-4701).

Weddings

Weddings

This park features beautiful natural and historic settings for your dream wedding. A large picnic area overlooks Little Lake Johnson and its white sandy beach. Multiple pavilions of different sizes are nearby, plus an indoor recreation building. The facility can accommodate up to 75 people and provides a full kitchen for caterers. The large outdoor pavilion can accommodate up to 100 people. 16 vacation cabins are available for wedding guests. Please call the ranger station for pricing and availability (352) 473-4701.

For photos and more information, download Your Dream Wedding at Gold Head Branch State Park (PDF - 3.18KB)

Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife at Gold Head Branch State Park is abundant. The park serves as home for white-tailed deer, turkey, gopher tortoise, fox squirrels, pocket gophers, red tailed hawk, bald eagles, fox, and various water and wading birds.