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The Dunnellon Trail runs on a former railbed from Bridges Road in Dunnellon, 2.5 miles along the scenic Rainbow River and across a bridge over the Withlacoochee River to CR 39/US 41 in Citrus Springs. Parking is available at three trailheads (see below). The trail also is part of the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway, and now links via a 1-mile connector to the Withlacoochee State Trail at its northern terminus. (Map link and photos below.)
Map link - Dunnellon Trail
Location: Marion and Citrus Counties
End Points: Bridges Rd. (Dunnellon), to US 41/CR 39 (Citrus Springs); connector to Withlacoochee State Trail
Mileage: 2.5 miles, 1-mile connector to WST
Surface: 12 ft., paved
Nearby points of interest: Rainbow River and Rainbow Springs State Park
Bike Shops/Rentals: Blue Run Bikes (Dunnellon; sales, service)
Located on Bridges Road (down the dirt road, just past the playing fields) in Dunnellon, the trailhead provides parking, porta-pottie, picnic. The easy ride is through mixed sun and shade. A 1/4 mile path links to the Blue Run of Dunnellon Park trailhead.
Located off CR484 in Dunnellon, this is a pleasant stop with parking, porta-potties and nature trails. Its location along the Rainbow River makes it a popular kayak launch and tuber exit.
Here is a pleasant and shaded ride along the Rainbow River with scenic views. Then, the Withlacoochee River Bridge seems to appear out of nowhere, with great river views from several observation decks. Historic signs tell how abandoned the route of the Cross Florida Barge Canal became the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway, and about the old railroad line once transporting phosphate that is now the Dunnellon Trail.
Mixed shade and sun continues to the trailhead at CR 39 just off US 41 in Citrus Springs. Parking, picnic, porta-pottie. The trail continues another 0.2 miles to its end at CR 39/US 41, but now a one-mile connector has been built, linking the Dunnellon Trail to the Withlacoochee State Trail.
Leaving the trailhead and before reaching CR 39, a ramp to the right leads to an underpass at US 41 - a big plus at this busy road! The path runs 1/4 mile through an easement to Delmane Drive, where it then continues roadside to the Withlacoochee State Trail at its Gulf Junction Trailhead. An easy ride with a couple of mild hills and little to no shade. Delmane Drive is a quiet road and there are several road crossings along the trail - none are busy. but use normal care when crossing. The connector also fills a gap in the Heart of Florida Loop.
Rainbow Springs is Florida's 4th largest spring and one of the most beautiful with crystal clear blue-green water, forming the headwaters of Rainbow River. The 72-degree spring is popular for swimming and snorkeling, and the river for tubing and kayaking (rentals available). The 1470-acre park is exceptionally scenic, with paved walkways winding through the gardens and to the waterfalls, and a 2.5 mile nature trail. Other activities include camping, picnicking, and birding. The Visitor Center has restrooms, snack bar, and gift shop. Especially in the summer when tubing reigns, the park and river can be very crowded. State Park fee applies.
History: Archaeological finds here date back 10,000 years. In the early 20th century, the area was mined for phosphates, then developed as a tourist attraction in the 1930's. The three picturesque waterfalls are manmade, built on phosphate tailings. Later acquired by the State and opening as a State Park in 1990, the land around the spring has largely been returned to a natural state though the gardens and waterfalls of the original attraction have been preserved.
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