At the confluence of the Rainbow River and the Withlacoochee River, Dunnellon is an outpost for adventures in the woods and on the water. Settled in the late 1800s after the first discovery of phosphate in Florida, it was a mining boomtown in its early history. One of the mining areas, on a bluff overlooking a beautiful spring, was converted to Rainbow Springs, a public garden in the 1930s, now a state park.
Trails and Parks near Dunnellon
- Big Cypress Trail - Deep in the heart of an ancient swamp, the Goethe Giant - one of Florida's largest cypress trees - stands tall at the end of a boardwalk in Goethe State Forest.
- Buck Island Pond Trail - Looping around a cypress-lined pond in the midst of pine flatwoods northwest of Dunnellon, the Buck Island Pond Trail at Goethe State Forest has quite a few interesting features, including a pitcher plant bog.
- Dunnellon Trail - Expanding access to the Cross Florida Greenway across the Withlacoochee River in Dunnellon, the Dunnellon Trail provides a new destination for cyclists and hikers to explore the cypress-lined river floodplain.
- Florida Trail, Cross Florida Greenway - A prime destination for backpacking and day hiking near Ocala, the Florida Trail, Cross Florida Greenway stretches 30 miles between Dunnellon and Silver Springs.
- Florida Trail, Pruitt - Switchbacks, scrambles, and a smattering of history - the Pruitt section of the Florida Trail along the Cross Florida Greenway is one of Central Florida's more fascinating hiking destinations.
- Florida Trail, Pruitt to Ross Prairie - Scrambling up and over the historic diggings of the failed Cross Florida Barge Canal, the Florida Trail between Pruitt trailhead and Ross Prairie tunnels through dense hardwoods
- Florida Trail, Ross Prairie to SW 49th Ave - Along this stretch of the Florida Trail through sandhills and scrub, you'll scramble over more historic diggings and see fern-draped limestone boulders scattered through the forest
- Holly Hammock Hiking Trail - A 2.4 mile loop showing off the habitat diversity of Ross Prairie State Forest, this easy hike provides scenic panoramas across the prairie on a mostly shaded trail.
- Johnson Pond Trail - Just south of the Withlacoochee River lies the Two Mile Prairie Tract of Withlacoochee State Forest, where the Johnson Pond Trail provides a walk through sandhills and oak scrub, touching on prairies along its 2.7-mile loop.
- Oxbow Trail - With two loops along an oxbow in the Withlacoochee River, the Oxbow Trail is the northernmost trail in Withlacoochee State Forest and a scenic short walk.
- Rainbow Springs Sandhill Trail - The Sandhill Trail at Rainbow Springs State Park leads hikers into rolling terrain punctuated with ravines created by mining and restored by nature, and offers a new perspective on the Rainbow River
- Rainbow Springs State Park - A place of beauty that morphed from phosphate pits to botanical attraction over the course of a century, Rainbow Springs State Park cradles one of Florida's most beautiful first-magnitude springs and the river it creates in a wrap of shady forests and gardens.
- Ross Prairie Loop - A 3.5-mile loop using blue-blazed connectors and the Florida Trail to circle Ross Prairie, the Ross Prairie Loop shows off the beauty of this prairie on the Cross Florida Greenway.