J64. Withlacoochee State Forest: Citrus Tract
Nearest City: Inverness
Phone Number: 352-797-4140
Features/Amenities: Seasonal hunting, Birding by car, Birding by foot/hiking, Best time of day: Morning, Recommended length of visit: a few hours, Camping, Horseback riding br>
Habitats: Dry Prairie/Grassland, Pines, Scrub, Hardwoods/Mixed Forest
The Citrus Tract/Citrus WMA is a designated Important Bird Area that showcases another part of the vast Withlacoochee State Forest’s great wildlife viewing opportunities. This site is also one of the best locales in Florida to see Red-cockaded Woodpeckers (RCWs). High-quality sandhills shelter several additional target species including Bachman’s Sparrow, Red-headed Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Osceola Wild Turkey and Northern Bobwhite. Hardwood hammocks and scrub habitats are also present. From CR 581, drive west on FR 10/Trail 10 to the Citrus Hiking Trail trailhead (loops A and B, 26 miles total, start here) at the Holder Mine Recreation Area. Look for RCW clusters on both sides of Trail 10 (runs east-west) and Trail 13 (runs north-south). Cavity trees are ringed with white paint for monitoring purposes. From the Mutual Mine Recreation Area off CR 581, you may access hiking trail loops C and D (36+ miles total), where you'll find additional RCW clusters. A diversity of songbirds passes through the forest in migration such as Acadian Flycatcher and Kentucky Warbler. Also look for butterflies and dragonflies including Dusky Roadside-Skipper, Southern Dogface and Little Blue Dragonlet. Stop by the Tillis Hill camping area off CR 480/Trail 13 or the visitor center off US 41 for a forest map. Trails 10 and 13 are sandy forest roads that are usually passable for 2WD vehicles. A network of other sand roads criss-cross the forest but may require 4WD. General forest maps and a WMA map can be found at the website and in the free Recreation Guide to Florida’s State Forests. The forest is closed to other uses during modern gun season; please CLICK HERE for hunting dates, regulations and more information.
Directions:From US 41 in Inverness, head west on SR 44 and turn left (south) onto CR 581. Go south for 2.5 mi. and turn right (west) into the forest on Forest Rd. 10/Trail 10. Proceed 1.8 mi. to the Holder Mine Trailhead. Additional access points are the Mutual Mine Trailhead on CR 581, the Tillis Hill camping area off CR 480 (turn north at Trail 13) and Trail 13 at SR 44. The forest HQ and visitor center are located on US 41 approx. 7 mi. north of Brooksville.
Open dawn to dusk.
Location: 28.799543° N, -82.380813° W