Chassahowitzka WMA is a huge swath of public land along Florida’s Adventure Coast, a stronghold for the Florida black bear in this region.
It protects more than 34,000 acres of coastal forests and wetlands north of Weeki Wachee, along with their secrets.
Resources for exploring the area
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Location: Weeki Wachee
Trailhead: 28.617251, -82.552701
Fees: Day use permit of $3 per person or $6 per vehicle
Restroom: A portable toilet is seasonally in place at the hunt check station
Land manager: Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
Open daily from dawn to dusk. Leashed dogs welcome.
Enter the main gate of Chassahowitzka WMA on the west side of US 19 just north of Centralia Rd. Stop at the entrance station to pay the day use fee. The hiking trails are along Indigo Road. It helps to have a map here – stop and get one, or download the one available from the link at the bottom of this page.
About the WMA
When roaming Chassahowitzka WMA, expect to see wildlife. We flushed a few turkeys, and it’s not uncommon to see white-tailed deer.
The network of limerock roads are ideal for off-road biking, and two nature trails offer short loops.
Archaeological finds include a burial mound dating to the Weeden Island culture, as well as encampment sites for more modern indigenous peoples.
This vast landscape was home to Centralia, a bustling early 1900s timbering community of more than 1,500 people, centered around a large sawmill.
Centralia was a company town, run by the Tidewater Cypress Company to remove the virgin cypress from the coastal forests.
By the late 1930s, they’d cut it all down and moved on, leaving the remnants of a ghost town.
While the primary purpose of this preserve is conservation and hunting land, these two nature trails provide loop hikes off Indigo Road.
Wild Turkey Trace
Along an upland trail in Chassahowitzka WMA, Wild Turkey Trace immerses you in the turkey oaks and pines of the sandhill forest, with the surprise of a boggy marsh along the way.
Showcasing one small corner of Chassahowitzka WMA, Cypress Circle introduces you to both upland and lowland habitats as it circles around a cypress dome.
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Annutteliga Hammock CA
Buffering Chassahowitzka WMA and considered an extension of it, Annutteliga Hammock Conservation Area protects 570 acres of sandhills and scrub while offering several loop hikes.
Fickett Hammock Preserve
Delving deep into a hardwood hammock with towering trees, the loop trail at Fickett Hammock Preserve quickly immerses you into a shady forest of botanical beauty.
Chinsegut Conservation Center Tract
Discover the beauty of May’s Prairie at the heart of the Chinsegut Conservation Center Tract
Perry Oldenburg WEA
With a surprising diversity of oak species for Central Florida, Perry Oldenburg WEA protects a prime piece of sandhill habitat where gopher tortoises thrive.
Trail Map (PDF) Hunt Dates Official Website