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Ridge Manor, River Trail (Withlacoochee Croom Tract)

Birding / Hiking / Adventuring Roadtrip Info

ROUGH DRAFT
Andrew Thoreson
May 2018
 Typical view [?]
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Typical View (24)

Snapshots! (17)
GRADES: Click each for info, * = Note
Revisit? B
Birding C *
Wildlife A
Summer Heat B *
Terrain C *
Fun Hike B
Maintained C *
Mosquitos D *
Biting Files B *
Ticks D *
NOTE: Good for forest but not good as just a bird spot
NOTE: Shade is pretty good
NOTE: B or C
NOTE: It can get grassy especially in summer.
NOTE: Varies
NOTE: Had none but should be here.
NOTE: C except the grass can get tall in summer
 LOCATION: Accuracy: Read me
Map On Big Map: Click map (or on google maps). Address: Withlacoochee State Trail N of, Croom Rital Rd and Cortez Blvd, Brooksville, FL, Hernando, USA, 34602
OFFICIAL INFO:

1) What It's Like

A forest trail that varies so that it's interesting. Mostly oak, then cypress. It's out and back and pretty far to the river but it's also interesting to go for a short out and back hike.

2) Kinds of Birds

We saw hawks and a few forest birds - titmice, warblers. Not packed but more than you might expect in this kind of dense forest.

3) Wildlife

We saw none but I'm sure there is plenty in there.

4) Amenities

Bathrooms are by the parking lot / sidewalk.

5) Directions

There's a long parking lot for the Withlacoochee state trail. In the middle there's a picnic pavilion - look past that for the trailhead and sign over entrance.

6) Time Requirements

See Experience section below but basically: To reach the river on the left fork is 3.5 miles / 2 hours total. The right fork I'd say is probably 1.25 hours.  To go all the way up to silver lake I'd guess is about double the left fork length. We've often stopped just for 20 minutes for a break driving and it's still a nice hike.


Experience

Here is the map. When you start out you can take a left (straight)

Maybe a 1/3 of a mile in the trail opens up to a clear area and it seems to go more or less straight into forest or go to the right. If you go to the right you'll reach the river quicker but we haven't tried this way. Going straight it took us 2 hours / 3.5 miles to get to the river and back. I'd guestimate the shorter route would be 60% the length so an hour and 15 minutes maybe. It's also closer to the highway.

The trail starts out in the parking area for the paved Withlacoochee State Trail - the bridge over the highway you saw coming in. Look forward and you'll see a picnic shelter - look behind that and you'll see a sign and trailhead. There tend to be warblers in this parking area.

The forest begins as this grid of not very old pines. Dull but we have seen nature just in there - groups of hawks, odd insects etc - so don't ignore keeping your eyes open. It wanders around a bit in not terribly dense oaks and a good amount of blackberry vines if it's the right season.

Then it opens into the area where the trail diverges I mentioned. Hawks are often visible here.

The rest is more dense forest - mostly oak but it turns into cypress a ways before you reach the river. There are some mild altitude changes to keep it interesting. Eventually you suddenly come upon the river. It feels wild and isolated so it's pretty nice. Also it was somewhat fast moving relative to most Florida rivers. Whether it's been raining may affect that quite a bit. The trail continues on for about double this length and I think it connects with sith Silver Lake. It MIGHT cross the river to meet up with more Florida Trail that goes through Hog Island but not sure - haven't been that far.

So very pretty trail - mostly dense hardwoods but opens here and there to allow for a bit more birding and wildlife than most trails I'd describe this way. It's not very similar to the Croom Tract trails just up the road in my opinion. They tend to start out much denseer and then open up into their odd pine areas.

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All images and data © 2016-2020 Andrew Thoreson unless otherwise noted.