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M. Roess Gold Head Branch SP

Birding / Hiking / Adventuring Roadtrip Info


Mar 2018
 Typical view [?]
Photo Galleries
Typical View (18)

Snapshots! (4)
GRADES: Click each for info, * = Note
How Big Not Rated
Importance Not Rated
Revisit? B
Birding D *
Wildlife B
Summer Heat B
Terrain D *
Fun Hike B
Maintained B *
Mosquitos C
Biting Files B
Ticks C
NOTE: Trees too tall to usually see birds.
NOTE: Along a ravine though fairly level.
NOTE: But map not so reliable
 LOCATION: Accuracy: Read me
Map On Big Map: Click map (or on google maps). Address: 6239 State Rd 21, Keystone Heights, FL, Marion, USA, 32656

1) What It's Like

It's a larger, more wild version of Ravine Gardens state park. It's  a ravine with a spring fed shallow sandy stream on the bottom. There was more to it than just that but that's the main attraction. Forest at top of ravine is mostly pines with very short oak saplings.

2) Kinds of Birds

We saw little. Should be typical forest birds.

3) Wildlife

Saw none but some should exist there.

4) Amenities

Typical state park things.

5) Directions

I highly suggest starting at the end furthest from the entrance - not the first place you see the ravine.

6) Dear Ranger

PLEASE RANGERS OF THE WORLD: If you have numbers on your trail: put them on your maps! You've already paid for them and it helps people self correct. So often we'll walk and walk and walk and wonder if we should turn around now or are we almost done. No way to know from the map. Also your map, though quite pretty, is not to scale so I did a much longer hike then intended on an injury and did a long walk back on the road to get back to the car. We weren't the only people doing that. Otherwise - pretty park.

7) Time Requirements

It took us an hour and 15 minutes to walk from the end closest to entrance and then back up the road to return to the car. If you started at the end there are more things to see and you could get the gist of the stream and ravine from there with more control of how much you want to see. The far end might be a better place to see the stream (maybe) but only at the beginning. I'd expect to spend at least a half hour looking around. It's not like stopping at the grand canyon, looking left and right, and going home - you have to get in there and explore.


We arrived, parked, looked down into the ravine but saw no way down - pretty and impressive. Then we went a bit further and there were stairs going down - I'm guessing it was 70ft down. It feels like you're in the wild when you're down by the clear sandy stream. From there you can walk down a path that seems long than it is. You're not walking next to the stream (visually... you actually are walking somewhat near it) ... really just a trail along a ravine side incline. We found it frustrating that we couldn't figure out from the map how far we'd gone - we wanted to see features further up but there were no numbers on the map, it seemed not to scale, and just matching the turns to our experience it was an experience of wondering are we almost there or should we turn around. I had an injury and wasn't enjoying it dragging on.

All the map negativeness aside it's a really nice park.

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