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Citrus Trail, Central Florida
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Brad Abrahams
(frigger)
Citrus Trail, Central Florida on 03/29/2012 16:32:50 MDT Print View

Greetings, has anyone here hiked the Citrus Trail in Central Florida? It's the longest contiguous loop in the state, about 45 miles. I'm interested in hiking is ultra-light in a couple weeks and would love some tips from those who have experienced it. I have a lot of questions but will wait to see if anyone's actually been.

Thanks!
brad

John Doe
(jessearl) - F
Citrus Trail on 03/30/2012 07:45:54 MDT Print View

Brad, I assume you are talking about the loop trail within the Citrus Tract of the Withlacoochee State Forest.

I've hiked many of the trails within the forest, driven on most of the forest roads and camped in the forest many times.

The main concern with hiking this trail is that is virtually no water. I can only assume it must be what hiking in a desert is like. You'll need to cache your water where the trail crosses numerous forest roads through the forest.

There is water in two places that I know of. At Mutual Mine camp area there is small spring-fed lake in an old phosphate pit. There may also be a spigot and trough at Holder Mine. It's labeled non-potable water but if you are filtering it I don't see any difference between it and any other water you pull out of a like or river.

You'll probably have the whole trail to yourself. I seldom see anyone else on it.

But I did once see Florida Trail Association volunteers in a truck along one of the forest roads at a trail crossing. They told me they were caching water for a group that was hiking through the forest.

Here is a review of the trail by Sandra Friend: http://www.floridahikes.com/citrus/

Post up your experiences after your hike. I'd love to read about it.

Brad Abrahams
(frigger)
Re: Citrus Trail on 03/30/2012 08:28:52 MDT Print View

Thanks kindly for the reply John,

Is it pretty straightforward where exactly I would cache the water? Would it be clear just looking at a trail map?

Should I expect many mosquitos in the next couple weeks?

Do you think hennessy hammock camping would be appropriate for the trail given the conditions and campsites?

Thanks again!
Brad

John Doe
(jessearl) - F
Citrus Trail on 03/30/2012 08:36:06 MDT Print View

The trail crossings between the hiking trail and the forest roads are pretty easy to spot when driving along the road. They'll be a wood post usually on both sides of the road with a metal diamond shaped sign post saying Florida Trail. It'll be marked on the back side of the sign what loop you are on and what forest road you are crossing.

So if you look at your map and see which Trail Road you'll be crossing while on the trail just drive up to that spot the morning of your hike and drop some water off the trail and cover it with leaves or something and mark it on your map.

I don't know if you want to pick up your water cache in the middle of the day or near your anticipated campsites. That's up to you.

Your Hennessy Hammock would be perfect for this location. Plenty of trees for you to string up on.

I'm going to send you a PM.

Darren McClintock
(Darren) - MLife
Citrus Trail on 03/30/2012 11:05:11 MDT Print View

I will be out there too in a couple weeks when tax season ends. You will need to cache some water at the road crossings. However, there are three developed campgrounds you can make a side trip to if needed at Mutual Mine, Holder Mine, and Tillis Hill. Cemetery Pond, which is South of Stage Coach Road is the only water hole out there in the 46 miles. You may want to plan on caching water off the main roads. I have also driven most of the roads but have 4 wheel drive, and the sugar sand can be thick. You will also probably get to hear coyotes each night. I have led backpacking trips there with the FTA, and the Citrus tract is a great place.

Brad Abrahams
(frigger)
Re: Citrus Trail on 03/30/2012 16:30:01 MDT Print View

Thanks for the reply Darren. Is there water available at the three campgrounds? If one were to make sidetrips to all three, and Cemetery pond, would one still have to cache water?

Thanks!
Brad

Darren McClintock
(Darren) - MLife
Citrus Florida Trail on 03/30/2012 18:48:57 MDT Print View

There are plenty of water spickets at each campground. I would still plan on caching water. The campgrounds are on the eastern and southern parts of the loop, along with Stage Pond in the South. That Western half is dry.

Brad Abrahams
(frigger)
Re: Citrus Florida Trail on 03/31/2012 13:28:57 MDT Print View

Darren & John, do you think Mosquitos would be an issue in April? Also, is April relatively dry?

Thanks!
brad

Brad Abrahams
(frigger)
Re: Citrus Florida Trail on 04/19/2012 15:20:31 MDT Print View

btw, trip report here: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=63090