One of the most popular activities found throughout Citrus County is riding bicycles. There are literally hundreds of miles of bicycle trails across the county that residents and visitors are welcome to take advantage of. Regardless of where you are looking to start or finish your ride, there is almost certainly a way to map it out using all of the trails around Citrus County. Visit Citrus offers a bike map online at their website and also has some great photos of cycling in the county. You will find them here: http://visitcitrus.com/play-here/land-lovers-activities/bicycling
Citrus County Bike Trails
The Withlacoochee State Trail is probably the most popular bike trail in Citrus County. It is 46 miles long in total and runs from the northern portion of Citrus County by Lake Rousseau all the way south into Hernando County. Because the trail is built on former railroad tracks that have been paved over, it is a great option for bikers of all skill levels.
One of the most unique trails in Citrus County is the Withlacoochee Bay Trail that runs along the Cross Florida Greenway, which is a man-made stretch of water that runs from the Gulf of Mexico to the St. Johns River. The trail starts at the former limestone mine that has become Felburn Park and runs a distance of five miles out to the Gulf of Mexico, providing plenty of opportunities to observe local wildlife along the way.
More adventurous residents looking for a trail that will take them outside of Citrus County could explore the Suncoast Trail. This trail starts off just south of Citrus County and follows alongside the Suncoast Highway south through Hernando County and Pasco County before ending 42 miles later in northern Hillsborough County.
For the even more adventurous bikers, there are off-road trails available at Whispering Pines City Park in Inverness, Potts Preserve, Flying Eagle, and St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve. These unpaved trails provide for great excitement for skilled mountain bikers, but may be a bit much for intermediate bikers.
The best place for beginning riders to get their feet wet is along the Withlacoochee State Trail. The Villages of Citrus Hills residents can get to the Withlacoochee State Trail by bike very quickly by heading east on the bike trail that follows alongside Norvell Bryant Highway.
While the total trail is enormously long, there are plenty of different short rides that can be done along the way. Central Ridge District Park is a great place to start from because you can head north about four miles towards the Citrus Springs Tennis Courts, or head south about five miles towards Hernando Beach and Hernando Park.
Intermediate level bikers might like exploring the approximately ten miles of trail that extend from Withlapapka Park in southeast Citrus County. This ride could include about five miles of the Withlacoochee State trail in order to make it about a 15-mile circle that contains beautiful scenic views of the Tsala Apopka Lake Chain.
Starting at either Hunter’s Spring Park or Crystal River Creative Community Playground, there is an expert trail that runs straight south towards Fire Station Park and Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. There is also a bike shop located along this trail in case any cyclers would have mechanical issues.
Another great expert trail experience is riding from Cooter Pond Park in downtown Inverness. From there, you can follow a trail west along State Highway 44 and Country Road 490 that will take you about 20 miles towards Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.
Whether you are an expert cycler looking for trails in excess of 20 miles, or a novice who hasn’t rode a bike since elementary school, there are multiple trails located throughout Citrus County that will make you feel comfortable. A great contact for the serious cyclist is the Citrus Cycling Club. Their website is www.citruscycling.com
All you have to do is get out there, start pedaling, and have some fun!