Nature Coast State Trail – Chiefland to Fanning Springs (Loop) – Chiefland, Fanning Springs – Levy & Gilchrist County, Florida

Before You Go:

There is long stretches with no shade along this trail so wear sunscreen.  Sunglasses are always a necessity when traveling in Florida; also, a good pair of cycling gloves help cushion your palms.

Getting There:

This ride will be done in three parts to keep it around the 20 mile mark for each leg.  This first section started at the Chiefland Trailhead. The Trailhead shares space with the Chiefland Chamber of Commerce. Travel either north of south on U.S. Highway 19 (which is Main Street in Cheifland). The trail head is on the southeast corner of the intersection of South Main Street and SE 2nd Avenue.

Trail Length

18.4 Miles – From the Chiefland Trailhead out to the Fanning Springs Trailhead and back.

The Trail

For more information on the trail itself or the communities of Cheifland and Fanning Springs, check out the links and gallery pictures below.

This is your typical Florida rails-to-trails project. The trail is, pretty much, arrow straight between the two major trailheads. There are only two major road crossings and it ends up being the same major highway. You will have to cross U.S. Highway 19 at the Chiefland Trailhead and, again, just south of the Fanning Springs Trailhead.

While there are a lot of road crossings, they are mostly in the immediate Chiefland area. As you progress north and west along the trail, they become fewer and further between. Additionally, traffic along most of the crossings was little to non-existent the morning I rode.

If you have the time, a stop in the Fanning Springs State Park is worth the visit.

Facilities:

  • There are facilities at the Chiefland Trailhead – they were pretty creepy.
  • There are facilities a the Fanning Springs Trailhead – they were locked the morning I rode.

The Cons:

  • The straight trail may be monotonous to some.
  • 15 road crossings (one way – 30 for the whole trip). Most of them in the immediate Chiefland area. They thin out as you head further north and west.

The Pros:

  • The trailbed is in excellent shape.
  • Relatively light trail traffic. You won’t be fighting through any crowds.
  • Saw and heard a lot of bird song along the trail. Cardinals were abundant.

Links:

Nature Coast State Trail – Office of Greenways & Trails
Nature Coast State Trail – Florida State Parks
Fanning Springs State Park – Florida State Parks
Chiefland, Florida
Fanning Springs, Florida

Send me an email. I would love to hear from you!

Happy Trails ~ John