Before You Go:
There is water and facilities at the Highway 50 Trailhead near Ridge Manor. I don’t remember seeing any other water and facility areas along the rest of this route. If you have read my numerous other posts on this site, you will know I always recommend a helmet, a good pair of cushioned biking gloves, sunglasses, sunscreen and, if you are going to stop or go off trail, insect repellant.
I began this leg of the trail from the Highway 50 Trailhead. From the west, hit U.S. Highway 19 and head east at the Intersection with Highway 50 (Cortez Boulevard) in Spring Hill, FL. From the east, take either the exit 46 (Cortez Boulevard) off the Suncoast Parkway (Toll road) or, off Highway 41, head west at the Highway 50 intersection. You will see the overpass for the Withlacoochee State Trail. There is a road just west of the overpass that will take you to the trailhead. Just follow the signage along Highway 50.
The trailbed iteslf is in fine shape and there are no hills to contend with except for the climb up the Highway 50 overpass. There are some road crossings but not as many as along other sections of this trail. None of the roads could really be called major and, the single one that is a major road has an overpass.
This 4th and final journey along the Withlacoochee State Trail begins at the Ridge Manor Trailhead. If you read the “Getting There” sections, you know the trailhead is located off highway 50 just to the west of the State Road 50/US Highway 98 overpass. This is the only place along the trail where I observed water and rest room facilities so take advantage!
After a little climb to the top of the overpass and a speedy decent, you soon pass mile marker 41 south (my archaic method of noting this is that the marker is 41 miles SOUTH of the northern terminus of the trail). Not long after passing the 41 mile marker, you will see a very long building bordering the western side of the trail. This is a regional shipping hub for Walmart and Sam’s Club.
The trail is pretty straight arrow passing Mile Marker 42 South. Soon, you will see the line marking your passing from Hernando County into Pasco County.
Mile Marker 44 South is the last mile marker before you hit the Trilby Road (County Road 575) crossing and enter the environs of the small town named for the road.
At the road crossing, look to the west and slightly north and you will see a fine example of one of the older homes that dot the interior of Florida.
The town of Trilby was originally named “McLeod Settlement” back in the 1870′s and was, thereafter named “Macon” and, finally, in 1896 it was named “Trilby” for the three railroad lines that converged. It was quite a thriving town until 1925 when most of the town was destroyed by fire. It seems it never recovered from this event. It still remains a charming little spot along the trail.
I just share the next picture because of the size of this beetle as it crossed the trail. It was about an inch, maybe more, in size so I stopped to snap its picture as it lumbered across the trail.
As you reach Mile Marker 45 South, there is a large parking area for the trail. It seems somewhat remote and, the several times I’ve been by this spot, I’ve never seen a car using the area.
Leaving behind this odd trailhead, you reach the Old Trilby Road crossing.
Shortly after the Old Trilby Road crossing, you read the southern terminus of the Withlacoochee State Trail. I did not see any facilities at the trailhead. Just a large gravel parking area.
This trailhead represents what was once the crossing of two different railroad companies. The area was named “Owensboro Junction” because of the crossing of these two railroads.
Heading back north, I had to include one of the obligatory photos of one of the concrete rail markers that still line the trail. The numbers are the mileage from the old railroad’s end in Richmond, Virginia.
Once again, crossing Old Trilby Road as I retraced my way back north.
It is an easy spin past Mile Marker 1 north to read the crossing at Trilby Road (County Road 575). There is also a parking area for the trail at the northwest corner of the intersection.
Leaving the road crossing behind, you will pass Mile Marker 2 followed by the line marking your passing from Pasco County back into Hernando County.
Speeding along, you pass mile markers 3, 4 & 5 before you reach, once again, the State Road 50/US Highway 98 in West Ridge Manor.
Take advantage of the facilities at the Ridge Manor Trailhead before heading north along the last leg of this journey.
Heading north out of the trailhead, you quickly pass Mile Marker 6 & 7 North before reaching the Croom Rital Road crossing.
Always liking to point out local businesses, if you look to the south and slightly west at the Croom Rital Road intersection, you will see the entrance to a ranch. This is the Lake Oriole Ranch where they sell organic beef.
As you pass Mile Marker 9 North, you will see the overpass for Interstate 275. I took this opportunity to take the overpass in the background and snapped a shot of the many birdhouses that line the length of the Withlacoochee State Trail.
At this very spot where I took this picture, if you look to the west, you will see a path and a break in the fencing that borders the east side of the trail. If you go through this break in the fence, you can climb to the road and see the sign for the Silver Lake Recreation Complex. There is a fee to enter this area but it does offer opportunities for hiking, fishing, biking and boating.
Not far beyond the Interstate 275 Overpass, you reach Mile Marker 10 North and the turn around spot for this sojourn.
Shortly, as you head back south, you are again passing under Interstate 275. A few short miles and you are crossing Croom Rital Road.
Before you know it, you are crusing back into the starting point of this trek. The Ridge Manor Trailhead awaits.
If you have the time and are not worn out from your exhertions, you can check out the “River Trail” that starts at the Ridge Manor Trailhead. It is on the east side of the trail. Happy Trails ~ John