Following a former narrow gauge railroad corridor, the Good Neighbor Trail is a 10.1-mile linear paved bike path.
It spans from the former main line at Croom, which is now the Withlacoochee State Trail, to a depot in Brooksville dating back to 1885.
The corridor dates back to the heyday of lumberjacks felling the “yellow pine,” as long-lived longleaf pines were known, and sending them off to sawmills.
Narrow gauge trains facilitated the process, in this case the Southern Railroad.
It was later taken over by the Atlantic Coast Line and rails widened to accommodate standard gauge trains.
Now, the Good Neighbor Trail provides a crucial connector in the Coast to Coast Trail across Central Florida.
Resources for exploring the area
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Location: Brooksville to Croom Junction
Length: 10.1 miles linear
Land manager: City of Brooksville
Open daylight hours only. Leashed pets welcome. Please pick up after your pet.
Riders on the C2C westbound will need to flip this description, as we describe it eastbound for the sake of day users at the easier to access end of the trail.
As a day trip, we rode the Good Neighbor Trail from the Brooksville terminus to Croom Junction and back for a 20.2 mile round trip.
A little more than half its length is within Brooksville and its surrounding rural residential areas.
Except for a brief portion between the old depot at Russell Park and up to US 98, you never feel like you’re riding through someone’s backyard.
On the west side of US 98, the classic Coney Island Drive Inn is visible up the hill and worth a lunch stop on the return trip.
The US 98 road crossing is only a quarter mile from the trailhead and is usually busy no matter the time of day. Don’t assume motorists will stop for you.
After crossing US 98, the corridor is deeply shaded by forest for much of the stretch up to Old Jasmine Dr.
Two very sharp jogs happen at McIntyre Rd and Mondon Hill Rd around 1.5 miles. Both roads have traffic that can’t easily see you.
However, you’re surrounded by farms and ranches in this part of town. Just be cautious along these crossings.
Once the trail is northeast of Mondon Hill Rd, it is along a dedicated power line corridor edged by forest.
You enter a stretch with tall chain-link fence on both sides of the trail. We could hear gunshots here.
While you can’t see it, the Phoenix Gun Club shooting range is on the right side of the trail and the fence is there so cyclists don’t wander into it.
Coming up beside narrow Richbarn Rd at 3.1 miles, the trail parallels it behind a screen of trees. There are a couple driveways to keep alert for.
Cross Weatherly Rd at 3.5 miles. It’s here that Richbarn Rd widens to a standard road width, still paralleling the trail. There are rural road crossings to watch for.
It’s hilly through this stretch, so we think that that Richbarn Rd was laid atop the gentler grade of the railroad bed a long time ago.
Leaving the rural residences and all roads behind by 6 miles, you enter the Croom Tract of Withlacoochee State Forest for the final stretch.
It’s very scenic and straight as an arrow. The grade rises very, very gradually through this mature sandhill forest.
There are two spots where the bike path crosses the Florida Trail. The first is along one of its yellow-blazed Croom Loops.
The second is along the orange blazes of the end-to-end piece of the Florida Trail in Croom not long before you see Croom Junction in the distance.
Ending after 10.1 miles at a T intersection, the Good Neighbor Trail meets the Withlacoochee State Trail at Croom Junction.
If you are following the Coast to Coast Trail eastbound, turn right to head south towards Ridge Manor Trailhead.
If you’re looking for the nearest trailhead and restrooms, turn left instead to head up to the road crossing of Croom Road.
There is a picnic bench and restroom at this road crossing, which is an unofficial trailhead for the bike path and access point for the Florida Trail.
Russell Street Park
The only trailhead along the length of the Good Neighbor Trail is at its western terminus in Brooksville.
Park adjacent to the 1885 Train Depot and Countryman Family One Room Schoolhouse Museum at Russell Street Park. There is a restroom at the park.
From the T junction where the Good Neighbor Trail meets the Withlacoochee State Trail, ride a half mile north to reach a small parking area adjoining the trail.
There is a covered bench and a restroom at this trailhead, which also provides access to the Croom Loops of the Florida Trail.
|0.0||Russell Street Park|
|1.2||Old Jasmine Dr|
|1.6||Mondon Hill Rd|
|6.0||Withlacoochee State Forest|
|10.1||Croom Junction at Withlacoochee State Trail|
The Good Neighbor Trail is an important link in the Florida Coast to Coast Trail. Learn more about this state-spanning bike path.
At Croom Junction, the east-west Good Neighbor Trail meets the north-south Withlacoochee State Trail, which spans 46 miles through Central Florida.
Our articles about exploring the area
A morning of exploration allowed us to experience the not-quite-open-yet Good Neighbor Trail and its historic context during our visit to Brooksville this September.
See our photos from biking the Good Neighbor Trail
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Using the Florida Trail and the Blue Loop Trail, hikers can explore a picturesque corner of Withlacoochee State Forest in Ridge Manor along a 3.9-mile loop.
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.
24.9 miles. With three stacked loops of blazed footpaths in Withlacoochee State Forest, the Croom Hiking Trail is one of the oldest and driest loop hike destinations for backpackers on the Florida Trail