Before You Go:
This isn’t a long or taxing trail. If you are riding in the early morning or late afternoon, you won’t need sunscreen or sunglasses. The main trailhead at Fellburn Park has full facilities – restrooms, water and picnic pavillions.
The trailhead is located just off US Highway 19 to the north of Crystal River. You can use the map below to get your bearings. Make a right off US 19 (if coming from the south) at the Nature Coast RV Resort. The road will follow parallel to US 19. Just before reaching the Cross Florida Barge Canal, you will reach the trailhead entrance. Follow the road to the parking area.
The trail is relatively short (just a tad over 5 miles long – 10 miles out and back). What the trail lacks in length, it makes up for in scenery. It is flat coastal terrain and the trail surface is well maintained.
The morning I rode this trail was somewhat unusual. Since a cold front was moving through the area and it had just finished raining when I arrived, I think it was probably not representative of how popular this park and trail might be. Also, please forgive the quality of the pictures since they were taken on a mostly overcast morning.
The actual trailhead is to the west of where you enter the parking area. There are restrooms, picnic pavillions and water available at this trailhead. While water shouldn’t be too much of a problem on this trail because of its length, there is a small area with restroom facilities around the mid-point along the trail.
As you head off to the west, you will see the Florida Wildlife Commission building on the north side of the trail just to the east of the US 19/98 Canal Barge Bridge. Just to the north of the Wildlife Commission building you will find a boat launch for the commission building. I was surprised by the rocky nature of the bluff.
And, of course, anyone who regularly reads my posts will be surprised that I took way too many pictures of the recently completed US 19/98 Canal Barge Bridge.
A secondary trail entrance appears once you pass under the US 19/98 bridge. This portion of the trail follows a rather straight path that parallels the barge canal to your north.
At about the half way point along the trail, you will curve off toward the south and then west again as you pass the only other restroom facilities along the trail. It is a smallish facility with a nearby overlook and parking for boaters and fishermen.
All too soon, you reach the western end of the trail. The actual end of the trail is a pavillion with fine views of the surrounding waters of Withlacoochee Bay.
The was one brave crew fishing the waters the morning I was there. As I mentioned, a cold front had just moved through the area and the winds were brisk out of the northwest at around 15 to 20 mph with gusts.
As you head back toward the north and east, keep an eye to the southeast for a glimpse of the Crystal River Nuclear Plant. If you live in Florida, be sure to contact your Florida representatives concerning the repairs to the nuclear plant. Against the advice of experts, Progress Energy decided to perform repairs to the plant and botched the job. In typical Progress Energy fashion, they are asking their customers to pick up the tab for their error.
There is a variety of plant life along the trail. Live oaks, palms, flowering shrubs and vines line both sides of the western end of the trail.
It was low tide the morning I rode the trail. I happened to notice green snails among the reeds of the exposed mud flats.
A sobering reminder of the Crystal River Nuclear Plant being nearby are the siren towers at the start and midpoint of the trail. It looks like they perform weekly tests of the sirens.
All too soon, you are back at the US 19 Barge Canal Bridge. It would be nice if there were plans to extend this trail further north and east along the barge canal but I couldn’t find any mention of further expansion for this trail. If you find yourself in the Crystal River area, it would be a nice ride out to the western end of the trail for a picnic beside the waters of Withlacoochee Bay. Additionally, the morning I was there, a group of cyclists seemed to be doing circuits out and back along the trail.