One of several tracts within Withlacoochee State Forest, the Croom Tract near Brooksville provides miles of popular hiking, biking, and horse trails.
Loop C is one of three connected loops on the west side of the tract. It can be hiked as a day hike out of the Tucker Hill Trailhead.
More extensive miles for an overnight trip can be added by connecting to the other loops, which feature designated primitive campsites.
Resources for exploring the area
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Length: 7.2-mile loop
Trailhead: 28.593670, -82.295856
Address: 26416 County Rd 480, Brooksville
Fees: $2 per person
Restrooms: At the Tucker Hill trailhead
Land manager: Florida Forest Service
Open sunrise to sunset unless camping in a designated primitive campsite. Leashed dogs allowed.
Croom is a popular hunting destination, particularly during the fall deer season. Check ahead on hunt dates and wear bright orange clothing if hiking during hunting seasons.
From Interstate 75 exit 301, Ridge Manor/Brooksville, drive west on SR 50/US 98 for 3.9 miles before turning right onto Mondon Hill Rd. In 3.3 miles, turn right at Preston Rd. Continue for 1.4 miles before turning left at Camp Castle Rd, then turn right onto Weatherly Rd in 0.4 mile. In 0.6 mile turn right onto CR 480, and the trailhead will be on the right in 2.1 miles.
From the large trailhead kiosk, head east between two wooden fences for two hundred feet, before turning right next to a sign indicating the hiking trail.
Yellow blazes lead the way as the well-trodden path leads through a patchy hardwood forest.
The trail slowly descends gently sloping terrain while transitioning to a sandhill habitat.
In 0.7 mile, turn left, following blue blazes eastward to begin the loop in a clockwise direction.
A post with diamond-shaped signs indicates an intersection with the “B – C” loops.
Slash pines dot the brushy landscape alongside turkey and sand live oaks.
In the spring, coral bean shrubs produce striking groups of flowers that give way to distinctive arrowhead-shaped leaves later in the year.
Skyblue lupines form in clusters on the forest floor, recognizable by their elliptical, dark sage green leaves and showy lavender blooms.
The sparse tree cover provides little shade, allowing wiregrass to thrive, and grow back quickly after a burn.
Continue following blue blazes for 1.2 miles to an intersection with the yellow blazed “C” loop.
Larger oaks become more prevalent, growing in close stands amongst pines, blueberries, and turkey oak saplings.
Reaching 2.5 miles, the blazed route crosses a popular paved bike path known as the Good Neighbor Trail, which is a segment of the larger Florida Coast to Coast Trail.
In another 0.7 mile, the loop turns westward, passing over rolling sandhill landscapes.
Shortly after crossing FR 7 in 0.8 mile, the blazes become a little tricky as the trail enters Twin Pond Hunt Camp.
The forest is peculiar around you while walking through the camp, and historic mining activity is evident near what was once the town of Croom.
The trail winds alongside an unnatural ravine before ascending to a familiar sandhill habitat.
Following a corridor though panoramas of pine accented by islands of oaks, the trail meanders northward, completing the loop at 6.5 miles.
Turning left at this intersection, yellow blazes lead back to the trailhead in 0.7 mile.
Learn more about Withlacoochee State Forest
Virtual hike of Croom Loop C
Other nearby trails in the Croom Tract
9.8 miles. Traversing rolling landscapes of the Brooksville Ridge, the Croom section of the Florida Trail provides miles of panoramic views within a large area of sandhill habitat.
An important link in the Florida Coast to Coast Trail, the Good Neighbor Trail stretches 10.1 miles from downtown Brooksville to the Withlacoochee State Trail
A pleasant ramble on bluffs above the Withlacoochee River, the Croom River Trail segment of the Florida Trail tunnels through oak hammocks and slips around cypress swamps along its 6.3-mile journey.