Lowering his bike from the rack, Bob sighed with contentment. It’s beautiful weather and perfect for a long ride. He gazed at the paved trail stretching beyond his sight, knowing it’s now ten miles long and doesn’t end there; he can ride as far as he wants to. No more of the “out-and-back” that he’d become accustomed to.
Donning his water-filled hydration backpack and ensuring his bike seat pack is stocked with essentials like a multi-tool, bike patch kit and small hand pump, as well as a basic first-aid kit and trash bag, he clipped on his helmet and lowered his sunglasses. After verifying full charge on his cell phone, he locked his car and set off from Brooksville’s Russell Street Park, site of the Good Neighbor trail head.
Eighteen years in the making, the Good Neighbor Trail welcomes Bob and other cyclists to roll car-free for miles and miles. Push off from the site of Brooksville’s 1885 Train Depot Museum at 70 Russell Street.
Follow a gentle curve, cross a small wooden bridge and glide beneath a shady tree canopy as you leave downtown Brooksville. Follow the level paved trail down parallel-to-the-road straightaways and around a few wide curves as views alternate between open fields and shade.
Soon, your ride is not only car-free, it’s structure-free upon entering the Withlacoochee State Forest. Smooth, black pavement is a pleasure, affording access to new areas for quiet pedaling, bird watching and wildlife viewing. On this rail-to-trail Florida biking experience, the landscape is even, with only gentle elevation changes, perfect for any skill level.
Newly opened, this long-awaited segment of the 10-mile paved Good Neighbor Trail now links to the 46-mile long Withlacoochee State Trail. It also closes a gap in the evolving 250-mile Florida Coast-to-Coast Trail which, upon completion, will be a continuous paved, multi-use trail across the state of Florida from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, from St. Petersburg to Titusville.
The Office of Greenways and Trails, part of Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection, welcomes outdoor enthusiasts to explore the Sunshine State’s growing system of non-motorized trails. Whether pedaling, paddling or hiking, there are loads of choices. With more than 10,000 miles of land-based trails and 4,000 miles of waterway trails to paddle, residents and visitors can discover many ways to enjoy nature and pursue a healthy outdoor lifestyle.
Find a rich network of trails on Florida’s Adventure Coast. From marked paddling trails to miles of paved bike trails free of motorized traffic, to forested equestrian trails, there are many ways to explore. Hikers can access a diversity of habitats from cypress-rimmed swamps to pine forests, sandhills and more on foot.
One hundred seven thousand acres, a third of Hernando County, are public lands. Between county parks, preserves, state forests, conservation lands and wildlife management areas, there are vast natural areas to explore. Leave your car behind. Grab a bicycle, kayak or boots and join Bob in exploring Florida’s Adventure Coast’s outdoors, starting with the newly-finished Good Neighbor Trail.