For a dip into the primordial wilderness that envelopes the Withlacoochee River on its northward flow to the Gulf of Mexico, take a short jaunt to Nobleton (Hernando County) for a nature trail that showcases some of the biggest cypresses around. The trail is entirely in the shade of the floodplain forest – prone to flooding when the river is high – and loops around several sinkholes, including one with this massive cypress in it. It intersects with the yellow-blazed River Trail in an upland pine forest, a separate 7-plus mile adventure.
Length: 1.6 mile loop; connects to Florida Trail
Lat-Long: 28.619750, -82.241083
Fees / Permits: none
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Bug factor: moderate
The trail is part of the Hog Island Recreation Area in the Croom Tract of Withlacoochee State Forest, adjacent to the Hog Island Campground.
From Nobleton or Bushnell, follow CR 476 to CR 635. A large sign indicates the Withlacoochee State Forest is near. Follow CR 635 into Hog Island Recreation Area. Park at the picnic area on the river. Follow the mustard yellow blazes.
Starting out from the trailhead kiosk, you come to a fork in the trail at the start of the loop. Keep to the left to walk amid the cypresses along a side channel of the Withlacoochee River along the edge of the river bluff forest.
Benches make for a comfortable stroll, and numbered posts correspond to the interpretive brochure. The trail loops past large sinks into the upland pine forests, crosses the entrance road, and joins the Croom Hiking Trail briefly. Stay with the mustard-yellow blazes! The trail rounds some more sinkholes before returning back across the road to complete the loop.