At a Glance:
This is my first post since my stroke back in October 2015. I hope to make my posts more frequent as I continue to improve and recover from the setback that the stroke represented.
The Withlacoochee Bay Tree is a nice trail that runs, generally, south and west along the banks of the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway. That is quite the mouth full so most people shorten it to the Florida Barge Canal. Whatever you choose to call it, it is a relatively flat trail nestled just south of Ingliss, Florida and to the north of Crystal River, Florida. Felburn Park serves as the only trailhead for this little gem. The morning I rode this trail with my trusty partner Brian, a front had just passed through so the humidity was low (for Florida). Be advised, however, that at almost all times of the year, the no-see-ums are relentless. If you choose to stop, make sure to avoid the grass and frequent the many covered stops along the route. Insect repellent is always suggested for any ride in Florida. As stated, with the passage of the front, the day was mostly overcast so no sunscreen was needed. Sunscreen is strongly recommended for the fair of skin when braving the outdoors in Florida. Your skin can burn well into the winter months since we are blessed with more direct rays of the sun due to our southern latitude.
The Felburn Trailhead is located on the east side of U.S. Highway 19 just south of Ingliss. If you travel from the north, you will cross a relatively new bridge that spans the canal. Look to your east and you should see entrance to Nature Coast Landings RV Resort. It is easy to miss but,if you turn as if you are entering the RV resort, the road running parallel to the main highway continues on to the entrance os Felburn Park. Turning into the park entrance toward the east, follow the road around to a large parking area with Picnic Pavilions and rest rooms. Coming up from the south, you know you have missed the entrance if you cross the canal and enter the town of Ingliss. I missed it and it is easy to make a U-Turn and backtrack to the Park Entrance.
13 Miles from the parking area south and west to the trail end at the gazebo overlooking Withlacoochee Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Heading back north and east to the Northern Terminus and then back to the parking area at Felburn Park.
As you park at the Felburn Trailhead, you will see an informational Gazebo located to the West. Head toward the location and you will reach the beginning of the trail, Turn to your right and head about a mile to the north and east. This section is a bit hillier than the portion to the south. Turn left and you will head relatively south and west parallel to the Barge Canal. This section tends to be mostly flat.
If you want to enjoy a stroll and choose not to avail yourself of the biking trail, there are Picnic Pavilions that are arranged around the parking area. To the north is the only restroom facility located along the trail.
Another option besides biking, is boating. There is a boat launch as you head toward the park, if you continue north instead of entering the park, the boat launch and parking area will be on your right.
As you head south and east along the trail, you will cross near the boat launch area and will cross under the bridge that spans the canal. There will be an entrance Arch just past the underpass marking the old beginning of this trail (before they added the extension to the north and east.
As you pass through the arch, notice the first of many picnic/fishing nestled areas along the banks on either side of the trail. These areas offer fine vantage points for viewing the wildlife along this trail. I have observed Osprey, bald eagles, blue jays, herons, snowy egrets, owls, rabbits, squirrels, armadillos, raccoons and such along the trail.
The payoff for this portion is the southern terminus of the trail when you reach the Gazebo that overlooks the Withlacoochee (to the north) & Oyster Bay (to the south) estuaries and overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. The views are expansive and beautiful. If the tide is out, you can explore the shoreline.
As you head back along the way you cane, keep a lookout for views of the towers of the Crystal River Nuclear Plant to your south.
While the northern portion might not be suitable, the southern portion of the trail would be great for a family ride. The length might prove taxing for children under ten but should prove doable for those above that age in acceptable health. As I said earlier, it was cool and overcast the day I rode. There isn’t a ton of shade along the trail so be sure to hydrate properly during th summer months and keep your eye to the sky for the pop-up variety of thunderstorms that are a fixture from June to September. Happy trails!
- There are facilities at the Felburn Park Trailhead.
- There are facilities at approximately the midway point as you travel south and west toward the Gulf of Mexico..
- The ride may be a bit short for seasoned riders.
- The section to the north and west of Felburn Park is a bit more challenging with some rises in elevation.
- Almost the entire 22 miles is tree lined.
- Ridge Manor
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