Riding the longest single track loop at Croom was sheer pleasure. This Blue Loop winds through the scenic Withlacoochee State Forest for about 24 miles, perhaps the longest mountain bike loop trail in Florida.
Most of the trail is flow and go, except 3 or 4 miles right in the middle of the loop that run through an old limestone quarry with plenty of challenges. If you’d rather skip this tougher section, you can bail out at Mile 10 (counter-clockwise), ride down Nobleton Road and resume at the Mile 14 bailout.
The majority of the ride reminded me of Paisley Woods in the Ocala National Forest, while the limestone quarry area was reminiscent of Alafia River State Park — a great combination. And like Alafia, these trails were established and are maintained by the SWAMP Mountain Bike Club, whose members and volunteers do outstanding trail work.
There is also the more popular Yellow Loop (about 12 miles) and nearly another 10 miles of connector trails. Please note that the Croom trail information on the SWAMP website is very different from the current map, so use the current PDF MAP, which you’ll want to print in advance — don’t count on any being available at the trailhead. Or you can print from this photo:
The Withlacoochee State Trail, one of the state’s longest paved rail trails (46 miles) also runs right past Parking Area 1, home of the Blue Loop Trailhead, located at 11281 Croom Rital Road, Brooksville, FL 34602. Want to stay the night? The Silver Lake Campground is just a short ride away on the rail trail or an even shorter drive.
Bottom line? This is a great place for mountain biking. It was well worth my 1.5 hour drive from east Orlando. I could easily spend a solid week out here biking, hiking and kayaking. Yes, there’s also the 76-mile Withlacoochee South Paddling Trail. Here’s the complete Recreation Guide in a nutshell.
Take a look at the Photo Gallery and/or the video slideshow below, the map of my ride and the links provided. I’m sure you’ll agree that this place belongs on your bucket list. Looking for other great places to experience Florida’s Natural Wonders? Check out our Bucket List and Where-to-Go, then head on out and have some fun!
PS: Here’s the link to my ride on the Yellow Loop, reportedly the most popular trail here.
My Ride Map >>