Running Around: The Best Places To Jog In Citrus County

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Whether you are training for the Gasparilla Distance Classic in Tampa later this month, looking to get yourself into shape to run it next year, or just enjoy taking some time to go for a jog every once in a while, there are lots of places in and around the Villages of Citrus Hills that are great for jogging.

The most obvious place to start when talking about jogging is our very own Fitness Center. With state-of-the-art exercise equipment and first-class trainers on staff, this is the perfect place to experience all kinds of exercise in a controlled environment.

But running exclusively on a treadmill can get routine, so most regular joggers prefer to get out and hit the trails. Residents of the Villages of Citrus Hills often start with our very own Nature Trail that runs through the Terra Vista neighborhood. After that, there are dozens of parks around Citrus Country that have great trails for joggers.

 If you are looking for a few new places to go for a run in Citrus County, here are five of our favorites!

Withlacoochee State Trail

At the top of our list is the amazing 46-mile Withlacoochee State Trail. You can access the trail from nearby Inverness and jog north up towards Dunnellon or south towards Owens Junction. 

The Withlacoochee State Trail is part of the Rails to Trails program, which means that it is made up of former railroad tracks that have been paved over to make the trial. The entire 46-mile stretch is nice and flat, so it makes for a great place to run with all the room you need to train for your next marathon!

Withlacoochee Bay Trail 

Another fairly flat trail that shares the Withlacoochee name is the Withlacoochee Bay Trail that runs alongside the Cross Florida Greenway just north of Crystal River. 

At only 5 miles long, this is much more manageable in terms of distance, but it definitely isn’t lacking for sights and sounds. The trail takes runners along the old barge canal and through local salt marshes before ending right on the Gulf of Mexico. 

Crystal River Preserve State Park 

Moving just south of Crystal River, you will find a very large section of coastal land that is known as Crystal River Preserve State Park. There are a number of different trails here that make for good jogging destinations depending on the mileage and difficulty that you are looking for.

Some of the shorter options here include the 2-mile Eco-Walk Trail, the 1-mile Lake Loop Trail, and the 3/4-mile Hammock Island Trail. You can utilize these trails in any combination you like, and also consider some of the others located throughout the park.

Potts Preserve 

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Another very large plot of land that contains great local running trails is Potts Preserve near Inverness, with over 8,500 acres in the preserve. 

The two most popular are the 4-mile River Trail and the 16-mile Loop Trail, but there are also 30 miles of open hiking trails for anyone looking to step up their jogging into more of an adventure. 

The Beach 

Running on the beach in soft sand can be difficult, but it sure makes for a scenic route! Fort Island Gulf Beach is a favorite in Citrus County, and if you are a road runner, you might enjoy the 9 mile Fort Island Trail that takes you out to the beach. 

No matter what level of experience you have under your belt, there are many great places for jogging throughout Citrus County. If you are the type of person who craves variety in your exercise routine, you can definitely find that variety among all of the great parks and preserves around the Villages of Citrus Hills.

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