Withlacoochee State Forest

Brooksville, Florida

Withlacoochee State Forest

Withlacoochee State Forest Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"This chapter on the birding areas around the Withlacoochee State Forest includes descriptions of the bird-watching at these various destinations: Withlacoochee State Forest, McKethan Lake Day-use Area and Chinsegut Wildlife and Environmental Area.

The specialty birds in this birding area include: Wood Stork, Bald Eagle, Purple Gallinule, Limpkin, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Bachman’s Sparrow, Least Bittern, Swallow-tailed Kite, Chuck-will’s-widow, Yellow-throated Vireo, Prothonotary Warbler, Summer Tanager, Virginia Rail, American Woodcock and Whip-poor-will."

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Withlacoochee State Forest Trail Trip Reports

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Melbourne, FL
Explorer | 42 pts
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Enjoyed the Citrus loop --43 mile loop through various natural types of habitats. Stayed in the backcountry sites and Mutual Mine campground. Trails are well maintained and well-blazed. Best to cache water at a couple points where the trail meets Forest Road 13 as the western side of the loop is dry. Sometimes I would not even think I was in Florida. Lots of elevation changes.
Crystal River, FL
Explorer | 20 pts
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There's some very tight caves in this area as well. Not for those easily frightened.
Lawrenceville, GA
Pathfinder | 191 pts
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I did a portion of the Citrus loop only about 6 miles using a combination of trails and Forest Service Roads. GREAT weather this time of year, and very diverse sections of pine forests, Oak stands, and Palmetto flats. Numerous bird species seen, and the place is covered up with deer and racoons. I'd suggest doing this trail early in the morning to get the best opportunity to spot wild life. This time of year is in the middle of Hunting season, so be certain to wear blaze orange.

This was a very easy trail to hike and well-marked trail blazes to follow.

Riverview, FL
Explorer | 40 pts
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I walked the Croom tract 3 weeks ago, and it was nice, but the Citrus tract A loop was absolutely fantastic. From pine forests, to hardwood oak hammock, to Florida oak scrub along natural sinks and soaring hills... a truly great place to hike!
Tampa, FL
Pathfinder | 110 pts
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I hiked from Silver Lake to the connector towards the entire Croom Tract Loop Trail (aproximately 18 miles) on the same day. The wildlife was impressive. I saw a bobcat, lots of deer, snakes (non-poisonous), birds of all types and sizes, and apparently a Florida Panther (still unconfirmed). When you reach the A-Loop, you will find ravines! This was a tremendous joy after being on flat land for so long! The most beatiful scenes came from the C loop as it is a trail that few hike.

Overall it was very challenging to finish it off in one day, but that's what I loved about it! Great Hike!

More Withlacoochee State Forest Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

"Divided into eight tracts, Florida’s third-largest state forest comprises 157,479 acres and spans four counties: Citrus, Pasco, Hernando, and Sumter. Although the World Wildlife Fund has called Withlacoochee “One of the 10 Coolest Places in North America You’ve Never Seen,” about 300,000 people do visit annually. The forest takes its name from the meandering Withlacoochee River, which flows for 13 miles through the forest. From March to November the landscape is often aglow with the brilliant colors of wildflowers. The following hike description covers one of the forest’s most popular short walks, the McKethan Lake Nature Trail, a 2-mile loop with numerous interpretive signs. For a longer, multiday hike in the Withlacoochee State Forest, see the 40-mile Citrus Perimeter Loop under “Long Haulers.”"

Trail Information

Nearby City
Skill Level
October through April.
Best Times
Withlacoochee State Forest, Chinsegut Nature Center.
Local Contacts

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