Location: Fanning Springs, Fl
It was a beautiful Sunday morning with the temperatures in the low to mid-sixties. Perfect fall weather in Florida!! Julie and I decided to bike the one section of the Nature Coast State Trail that we’ve not yet done. In the past we did the Trenton to Fanning Springs section as well as the Fanning Springs to Cross City section, but today was the Fanning Springs to Chiefland spur which is about a 20 mile round trip ride.
The Nature Coast State Trail is built upon old abandoned rail lines. So, for the most part they are fairly straight with very little elevation change and this was especially true of today’s ride. The trail from Fanning Springs to Chiefland is straight as an arrow (see gps track below) and very flat. I can’t think of any section of today’s ride that seemed like it was peddling up or down hill. And since we don’t bike ride a lot, that’s very much appreciated!!
Three of the four trail heads on the Nature Coast trail are built at the location of the old rail stations. So, they all still have the depot buildings that have been restored. Fanning Springs is the only one that does not have a rail station, but the picture below is of the Chiefland train station (also used as the Chamber of Commerce facility). This was the end of the line for us today and was where we turned around and headed back.
The Fanning Springs to Chiefland section of the Nature Coast trail is well shaded for the most part but there are some sections that are in full sun. Even though today was cool, we still appreciated riding under the tree cover which made it very comfortable. I can’t say that this trail is overly scenic as it travels between US-19 and CR-207 and you do hear a bit of traffic noise from the highway, but it’s still a nice ride. The trail is well maintained and very wide and there’s not many other bikers to worry about. We did pass by some horse farms and large pastures. This ride also gives you a good look into life in rural Florida which is much different than many of the more populated sections of the state.
This is pretty much the look of the trail, but with some areas being more shaded.
The Fanning Springs trail head is very near the State Park. We didn’t ride into the park, but we did head towards the US-19 overpass as it crosses the Suwannee River. We found an interesting road side park on the south side of US-19 that is right on the river. They had a walkway down to the river where you could take in the beauty of the Suwannee.
Here’s a section of the original bridge that was built to span the Suwannee River
And on the north side of US-19 we found another park that we had never noticed. This one was also directly on the river but didn’t have any direct access to the water.
Here’s the GPS track from our ride today on the Nature Coast TrailBiking the Nature Coast State Trail at EveryTrail
And a short YouTube video of our ride.