Withlacoochee River Park is a Pasco County regional park occupying 458 acres.
Combined with 146 additional acres from the Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve
provided by the Southwest Florida Water Management District along the
Withlacoochee River, this park offers quite a few recreational possibilities. It
consists of large tracts of hardwood and pine forest, as well as cleared areas
suitable for camping, picnicing and other activities.
Picnic areas include four shelters and a large pavilion, two playgrounds,
restrooms, and a paved multi-use trail that runs 1.7 miles through the park.
There are also over 5 miles of marked hiking trails, organized into several
loops that connect via boardwalks. A fifty foot tall observation tower provides
a good view of the surrounding forest.
Camping is available for tent campers in both primitive and semi-primitive
settings. There are two group tent campsites that can each accommodate up to 40
people. RV camping is also encouraged, with 15 spots that have water and
electrical hookups. Two primitive cabins may also be rented. Other facilities
near the camping area include an earth stage, a replica of a pioneer village
including a small church, and a large recreation/athletic field.
Access to the Withlacoochee River is provided with a fishing pier and kayak
launch. It is possible to paddle upstream or downstream for quite a distance
from this location.
Withlacoochee River Park is the site of the first bridge to cross the river in
this area, built in the 1850's. It was named the "Lanier Bridge" after James
Lanier, who had his team of slaves build the bridge to allow shipment of lumber,
turpentine and cattle to several small towns that used to exist nearby. Timbers
from the bridge can still be found about 100 yards downstream from the current
kayak launch site. Note: the Withlacoochee is one of the few rivers that flows
to the north.