In addition to Florida Greenways and Trails Month, October is State Forest Awareness month, Wildlife Awareness Month and Native Plant Month. Why not combine all that October celebrates with a bicycle tour? Here is all you need to know to plan two amazing days cycling award-winning paved trails in Nature’s Place to Play.
Day 1: the Withlacoochee State Trail (Round Trip 33.6 miles)
With 46 miles of cycling pleasure, the Withlacoochee State Trail is a favorite of many. Florida’s Adventure Coast is lucky to have some of most picturesque views on the trail! Keep an eye out for wildlife as you pass by the Withlacoochee State Forest. The trail also runs close to the Withlacoochee River, and our itinerary includes spots to view the river and enjoy nearby hiking trails. Although much of this section has shade, be prepared with insect repellent, sunscreen and plenty of water. This trail is part of the Rails-to-Trails program and is mostly flat.
Start the day with breakfast at Southern Harmony Café for a delicious home-cooked meal and coffee.
Nearby Bike Shop: Brooksville Bicycle Center
Loop Start/End Point: Ridge Manor Trailhead
6410 Croom Rital Road, Ridge Manor, FL 33523
Amenities: restrooms, picnic pavilions, parking lot
Ride South to Trilby Trailhead (5.9 miles)
From the Ridge Manor Trailhead, ride south for 6.6 miles to the Owensboro Trailhead
19755 U.S. Highway 301, Dade City, FL 33523
Amenities: restrooms, parking
Silver Lake Recreation Area (9.6 miles)
Turn around at the trailhead and ride north on the trail for nine miles. Croom Rital Road will be on your right. Switch to the road for 250 feet and turn right onto Silver Lake Rd, marked by the brown sign for Silver Lake Recreation Area. Continue on Silver Lake Road for half a mile to the Day Use area.
Silver Lake Recreation Area features pavilions, a nature boardwalk, a canoe trail and campground. This makes a perfect spot for fishing, having a picnic or exploring the trails. You can continue cycling to the campground which is a small loop. Hiking trails include the Croom River Trail which is 5.2 miles. This area also includes sections of the Florida Trail that can be hiked.
Address: 31475 Silver Lake Rd, Brooksville, FL, 34602
Visit Istachatta and view the Withlacoochee River (7.1 miles)
From Silver Lake Campground, backtrack down Silver Lake Road to the Withlacoochee State Trail. Continue north on the trail for 6.5 miles. You will be passing through Lake Townsen Regional Park, and Withlacoochee Riverside Community Park following on the right.
Lake Townsen Regional Park contains 375 acres which includes trails for hiking and bicycling that connect with the Withlacoochee State Trail. Amenities include restrooms and pavilions.
Continue north a half mile to the Istachatta Post Office. For a longer ride, continue north on the trail to Floral City or Inverness before turning around.
Visit Nobleton for Lunch or a Kayak Trip (1.8 miles)
From the Istachatta Post Office, head south on the Withlacoochee State Trail for a mile and turn left onto Lake Lindsey Road. Within a half mile on the left is Nobleton Wayside Park on the Withlacoochee River. After passing the park, you have the choice of taking a break to shop, buy lunch, or even kayak on the Withlacoochee River.
- (In 315 ft. on the left) River Oaks Landing has antiques and an ice cream shop
- (In 0.1 mi on the right) Nobleton Riverside Restaurant
- (In 0.3 mi on the left) River Ratz Café and Nobleton Outpost Kayak and Canoe Rental
Return to Start/End Point (9.2 miles)
From Lake Lindsey Road, head south on Edgewater Avenue (located across from Nobleton Wayside Park). In a half mile, Edgewater Avenue connects to the Withlacoochee State Trail. Head south on the trail for 8.5 miles to the Ridge Manor Trailhead.
DAY 2: Suncoast Trail (Round Trip: 25.3 - 44.7 miles)
The Suncoast Trail is named for the highway which runs beside it, but the highway itself is not a distraction. Part of Florida's Greenways & Trails system, the trail is an award-winning scenic 42 miles long with views and hilly terrain on the northern end. Keep an eye out for wildlife on the west side of the trail. Sometimes known for being a ‘wind tunnel,’ this trail calls for appropriate head gear; also wear insect repellent, sunscreen and bring plenty of water.
Nearby Bike Shop: Crank Works Bicycles
Start/End Point: Anderson Snow Park (Trailhead)
1360 Anderson Snow Rd, Spring Hill, FL 34609
Trailhead amenities: Restrooms, Parking, Trails
South on the Suncoast Trail - Visit Strong Tower Winery (4.0 miles)
Head south on the trail for 2.8 miles. To visit to the winery, turn left on Bowman Road and continue for 0.3 miles. Turn right onto Forge Drive; the winery will be on your right in half a mile.
Strong Tower Winery: A certified Florida Farm Winery, Strong Tower grows three grape varieties and processes all wines on site. Visit and taste their wines in the tasting room, tour the processing and vineyard, or relax while sitting out on the veranda. The winery store carries wine, wine accessories and gifts.
Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 10:00am – 6:00pm
Address: 17810 Forge Drive, Spring Hill, Florida 34610
Brooksville Trailhead (9.8 miles)
From Strong Tower Winery, backtrack to the Suncoast Trail and head north. Continue north for 9 miles.
Address: Gar Street, Spring Hill, FL 34609
Amenities: Restrooms, Parking
Visit the Olive Grove (2.4 miles)
To visit the Olive Grove, continue 2.4 miles north of the Brooksville Trailhead and turn right onto Rester Drive. Continue for 85 feet to reach the farm entrance.
The Olive Grove: Fancy another local farm tour? Stop by the Olive Grove to sample freshly cured olives or baked bread with olive oil. The farm owners are more than happy to give you a tour of the grove featuring seven varieties of olive trees, an olive mill and a country store selling their handmade products.
Hours: Saturday and Sunday, 10:00am – 6:00pm
Address: 15016 Rester Drive, Brooksville, FL 34613
If you would like to extend your itinerary, you can continue north on the trail for 9.7 miles to the north end at US-98/Ponce De Leon Boulevard. While there are no amenities, the parking lot offers a place to rest and the beauty of the ride is worth the trip.
Return to Anderson Snow Park
From the Olive Grove, head south on the Suncoast Trail for 9 miles to return to Anderson Snow Park.
Spring Hill has many options for lunch; check out the restaurant guide on our website for a full list.
By afternoon you still have time to catch a mermaid show Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
Mermaid Show Schedule:
Monday – Friday: 11:00am, 1:30pm, 3:00pm
Saturday – Sunday: 10:00am, 12:00pm, 1:30pm, 3:00pm