Hike the Seven-Mile Loop Trail at Crystal River

Image of a tidal creek on the seven mile loop trail at crystal river preserve state park.

Mountain bikes or fat tire bikes (or just your own two feet) are perfect for this trail, the longest unpaved loop in Citrus County. Starting out on the western section, you’ll cross over three tidal creeks - Deer Creek, King Creek and Dolphin Creek - where you can witness the beginnings of the estuary food chain. 

Take time to stop and observe freshwater minnows as they flit about in the shallows at a low tide, and, if you’re lucky, catch a glimpse of a family of otters hunting for redfish at high tide.

Around mile two you will find a bench to rest on, a perfect spot to fully enjoy the afternoon sea breeze blowing across the saltwater marsh flats. Winding your way farther down the trail at mile three you can try, but will fail, to wrap your arms around a champion contender loblolly pine tree.

Trees on the northern and eastern section of the loop will begin to bear evidence of prescribed fire, indicating the active resource management activities underway to restore the coastal plain.

In the spring and fall, numerous wildflowers appear in the restored pine flatwoods just past mile five. This section compels nature lovers and photographers alike to stop and watch the bees, butterflies and other pollinators move from flower to flower. Small flits of movement hint at the sheer industry of this tiny world, often overlooked by people.

As you complete the last mile of the loop, feel the sense of accomplishment and peace that you’ve earned prior to getting back into your vehicle and re-entering the hustle and bustle of life beyond the preserve. 

We hope you come visit soon to experience this impressive trail loop, as well as everything else Crystal River Preserve State Park has to offer.