The Withlacoochee state trail. In 1800 a flurry of railroad construction happened in West Florida that connected mining communities. By the 1900s, the route became a tourist attraction, and many travelers found themselves exploring trails just like these. At that point, it got known as the ACL, The Atlantic Coast Line.
The Withlacoochee State trail sits on this railroad bike path stretching between Citrus Springs and Dade City. The first thing to mention is it is about 90 minutes drive from Orlando, but we wouldn’t be talking about it if it wasn’t worth your time traveling there.
The route is 44.1 miles long and is just incredible. You will be passing some wonderful sights, and the riding is just excellent. We advise you to start at Dade City, being the closest to Orlando. The best way to enjoy this route is to break it down into three sections.
Withlacoochee State Trail South
The first section is about 14 miles, and it heads from Dade City. You soon realize when you have left as everything becomes nice and quiet and beautiful. You're riding through the south end of the trail, which is mostly flat here, and you are shaded by the trees of the Withlacoochee state park. You will notice many old rail signs, which are these black and white blocks sticking out the ground. You're going to continue to the small community of Nobleton.
Withlacoochee State Trail Central
After Nobleton, you will start wanting to make your way to Inverness. It’s about 14 miles again. This is the most scenic section of the route passing through the gorgeous Floral City. You're riding into the old Florida here. Beautiful moss cover buildings and small friendly communities of people make it so special and give it such charm. You will pass through the Fort Cooper State Park here, and it's worth the stop at the lakes for some pictures before you get to Inverness.
Withlacoochee State Trail North
From Inverness north to Citrus Springs, the trails get a little more undulating, and you will have a few road crossings. It’s roughly another 14 miles till the end. It is slightly less shaded, and you pass Lake Henderson here. You're coming to the end of the trail here, and Just south of Dunnellon, the Gulf Junction terminus marks the current end of the Withlacoochee State Trail.
You have trailheads every couple of miles on this route, and regular bathroom stops every few miles at local services that you pass through. Any bike will be able to ride on this trail, but we recommend using a road or gravel bike to make the distance easier to cover if you plan to take on the whole course. The path is shared with hikers, runners, and people walking their dogs, but they have to be on a lead. The trail is lovely and wide, so you will have plenty of space to ride. We hope to see you there soon.