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Welcome to Withlacoochee State Trail

In the late 1800s, railroad entrepreneur Henry Plant established a rail line that ran from Croom to Inverness, Florida, thus completing the Plant System’s West Coast Route. The Plant System eventually became the Atlantic Coast Line in 1902, the Seaboard Coast Line in 1967, and finally, CSX Transportation in 1980. In December of 1989, CSX Transportation sold their 46 miles of right-of-way between Gulf Junction (Citrus Springs) and Owensboro Junction, six miles north of Dade City, to the state of Florida to establish the Withlacoochee State Trail. The corridor was one of the first purchased under the Florida Rails to Trails Program.

At 46 miles in length, the Withlacoochee State Trail is one of the longest, paved rail-trails in Florida. The trail corridor runs through small towns, ranches and natural areas as it makes its way south from Citrus Springs to Dade City. With proper planning, a ride along the trail could include breakfast, lunch, dinner and accommodations. Like most rail-trails in Florida, the Withlacoochee State Trail is generally flat, offering an easy ride for all skill levels. Mile markers are located along the trail. An unpaved equestrian trail parallels portions of the paved trail.

Reminders of historic railroad activity include cement mileage and whistle markers, the Lake Henderson Trestle and the privately owned Inverness Depot, which was built in 1892. Along the trail, visitors will pass through a variety of habitats, including upland mixed forest, sand hill and wetland communities. The trail corridor also serves as a habitat for gopher tortoises and other native plant and animal species.

The trail traverses a region that offers many other outstanding recreational opportunities. Among the recreational highlights nearby are the unpaved trails in the Croom area of the Withlacoochee State Forest, Fort Cooper State Park, as well as the Withlacoochee River (South) Canoe Trail.