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[ft-l] Cross Florida Greenway hiking (long)

Ken Smith and I have almost completed Trail Inventory on the
Cross Florida Greenway.  Ken still has one short stretch of
trail to finish up between the Santos trailhead and Baseline
Rd trailhead (about 3 miles) which should be open by
mid-January.  This section of trail runs from the Pruitt
trailhead on CR 484 about 5 miles east of Dunnellon to the
Marshall Swamp trailhead on CR 314 (Sharpes Ferry Rd) about
2 miles east of  SR 35 (Baseline Rd).  You can see some area
maps at http://www.dep.state.fl.us/gwt/guide/cfgtrails.htm

This is going to be a great place to hike.  When that last
little bit is completed it will offer a series of linear 5-
to 7-mile day hikes or a really nice weekend backpack trip
of about 30 miles.  AND there is no hunting allowed near the
trails, so the hiking trail can be used all year round
without any concern of running into hunters or wearing loads
of blaze orange.

There are/will be trailhead parking areas every 4 to 6
miles, usually reached via short blue-blaze side trails.
All trailheads have water sources, altho not all the sources
are potable - so bring your water filter.  The major
trailheads have restrooms and picnic facilities as well as
parking.  The major trailheads that currently exist are:
Land Bridge, Santos, Baseline Rd and Marshall Swamp.  A new
major trailhead is currently under construction on SR 200.
The trail runs through interesting topography for Florida.
I especially enjoyed the section between Pruitt Trailhead
and SR 200 (6.2 miles) where the trail climbs up and down
over the spoil ridges cast up by the diggings for the Cross
Florida Barge Canal in the 1930's.

Camping is allowed on the Greenway.  But you have to call
the Greenway office at 352-236-7143 for permission to camp.
You can give them the info over the phone and they will
either mail you the permit or you can pick it up at their
office at the north end, right next to the Marshall Swamp
trailhead.  You don't have to give an exact location of your
camp, just "between Pruitt trailhead and SR 200" or
something similar, which gives you lots of flexibility for
choosing a campsite.   And there are lots of nice areas for
campsites along the way.  No fires are allowed along the
Greenway however.

The mileages break down as follows:
Pruitt Trailhead to SR 200 = 6.2 miles

SR 200 to 49th Ave trailhead = 6.2 miles
(including 0.2 mile blue-blaze)

49th Ave trailhead to Land Bridge over I-75 = 2.3 miles

Land Bridge to Land Bridge trailhead (CR 475A) = 1.2 miles

Blue-blazed side trail from Land Bridge trailhead to Land
Bridge = 2 miles
(with FNST makes a nice loop trail of 3.2 miles)

Land Bridge trailhead to Santos trailhead = 6.8 miles

Land Bridge trailhead to Baseline Rd trailhead = 3.5 miles

Baseline Rd trailhead to Marshall Swamp Trailhead = 5.5
miles (approximate)

So get out and take a hike this winter!

Deb Blick