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Reported: June 2016

Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area... Florida

Unpaved Eco-biking on Public Lands

Located on Florida's Gulf Coast, 15 miles south of Crystal River, Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area (WMA) preserves vanishing Florida habitat. A 9-mile self-guided tour (brochure online or at hunter's sign-in station) is laid out for cars and bikes, but more biking is available on other connecting roads. Some rough and/or soft spots, but mostly hard pack surface. Eagle's Nest Sink is an interesting feature. Entry and exit is from the same point. (Map link and photos below.)

chassahowitzka wildlife management area, eco-biking

Map link...
Chassahowitzka WMA Biking

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Location: Citrus County (US 19 at Thrasher Ave. - GPS coordinates 28°39'29.1"N, 82°33'09.5"W)
9 mile self-guided driving/biking tour, more biking available along WMA roads
Surface: Crushed shell and stone, packed dirt, sand
Trailheads: Indigo Trailhead (See map)
Nearby points of interest: Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, Homosassa Springs, Crystal River

Bike Shops/Rentals:


Support and Advocacy:

Friends of the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge

CHASSAHOWITZKA WMA... Comments and Photos

Pay a per person day-use fee at the entrance (next to the hunter's sign-in). Picnic tables are available, but no facilities - bring water and snacks. A few nice spots, nothing spectacular, but critical habit for the critters. No large water bodies to draw wildlife. Some shady spots along the trail, but mostly open to the sun, better as cool-weather ride. Florida law requires bikers under 16 to wear a helmet. During hunting season, wearing orange or other bright color is recommended. Hunts are usually over by afternoon.

Biking at Chassahowitzka WMA

Entering off SR 19 there's a hunter's sign-in station. About 1.5 miles further along is Indigo Lane Trailhead with parking, picnic tables, and access to two popular hiking trails. Also from Indigo Lane, an 8-mile interpretative self-guided tour loop has been mapped out on park roads, well-marked including 16 markers. The roads are unpaved but bikeable on the hard-packed shell. Tram roads built in the early 1900's to haul lumber from the swamp to the railroad today are used for hiking and off-road biking.

About 6 miles south along a park road, a pleasant surprise was Eagle's Nest Sink (see map). Under the unassuming surface are a network of caverns down to over 300 feet, popular with cave divers. We drove to sink, but the road is bikeable.

More About Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area:

Once center of a a booming lumber operation, Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area covers almost 34,000 acres of sandhill and scrub communities and contains Chassahowitzka Swamp, the largest forested coastal wetland south of the Suwannee River. Activities include hiking, biking, horseback riding, and hunting. Wildlife include bear, bobcat, gopher tortoise and fox squirrel. Birdwatching is abundant - the WMA is part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail.


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