Hike to caves and Lizzy Hart Sink

Join us for a 4 mile hike in the Withlacoochee State Forest, (D loop of the FTA trail in Citrus Tract) to view the famous Withlacoochee caves and hike past Lizzy Hart Sink.

**  PLEASE NOTE THERE IS A CHANGE FOR OUR HIKE!  There is a time change from 1:00 PM because of predicted thunderstorms Sat. afternoon.  We will now meet at 9:00 a.m. and have our hiking done by early afternoon.  Sorry for the change, but we don't want to take a change on being caught in thunderstorms.  When I first posted this hike, I offered a pot luck dinner and camping at my home to the participants in my hike.  Jim McConnell and I realized after many people had to be put on the waiting list that we needed to try to accommodate them for the dinner/camping. CAMPING WILL NOW BE AVAILABLE FOR THE WEEKEND AT HOG ISLAND CAMPGROUND on the Withlacoochee River near Nobelton.  The pot luck will begin at 5:00 p.m. at the Hog Island camping area and is open to anyone from 50+ who wants to join in.  There will be more hiking/bicycling/kayaking opportunities on Sunday. 

Please bring a hat, sunglasses, trail snack, adequate water, and a light rain jacket for the hike Sat.  We will meet at the intersection of County Rd. 480 (Stagecoach Road) and Forest Rd. 13 (large sign at intersection indicating a right turn will take you to Tillis Hill Recreation Area).  DIRECTIONS FOR THE TRIP ARE BELOW:

No dogs on this hike/camping event please. 

 Directions to Rt. 480 from Tampa area:

Go north on I-75 and get off at Brooksville Rt. 50 exit.  Go west on Rt. 50 approx. 10 miles to Brooksville.  Turn right at the 2nd traffic light in town onto Rt. 41.  Go north on Rt. 41 approximately 3 miles and turn left onto Snow Memorial Highway or Rt. 481.  Go north on Rt. 481 about 6.5 miles to Rt. 480.   (Rt. 481 turns into Rt. 581 when it crosses the Hernando/Citrus county border.  It is the same road, just has a different number.)  Turn left on Rt. 480 (also called Stagecoach Rd).  Go west on Rt. 480 approximately 3 miles and start looking for the large wooden sign for Tillis Hill Recreation area on the right side of the road.  I will have my gold Toyota pick-up truck parked at the intersection of Forest Rd. 13 and Rt. 480 where the Tillis Hill sign is.  Call my cell phone number (352)[masked] if you need help finding the meeting spot.

+++PLEASE NOTE:  I DO NOT HAVE INTERNET AT MY HOME, SO THE ONLY WAY TO CONTACT ME AFTER FRIDAY AFTERNOON IS TO CALL MY CELL PHONE.  (352) 860-3921.

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  • Kerry G.

    5 stars to Marcie and Jim, They both guided us from each sink hole and cave while sharing there great knowledge of the local fauna. I will do more trips with them. Kerry Glenn 2014

    January 11, 2014

  • Pat C.

    Nice walk in the woods with knowledgeable hikers. Great meetup, thanks!

    January 11, 2014

  • TerryS

    I am so sorry that I won't be able to come because of time change. Thank you anyway.

    January 10, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry, I have already have plan for tomorrow.

    January 10, 2014

  • Kerry G.

    Having to drive from Sarasota I decided to arrive a day early. If anyone wants to get together tonight (Friday) please call me at (407) 463-6489. BTW: I do not know this area.

    January 10, 2014

  • Jim M.

    A reminder that weather has caused us to begin the hike earlier in the day. We will be meeting at 9 am and setting out at 9:30 saturday.

    January 10, 2014

    • Quilla P.

      I won't be able to make the hike at the new time - sorry - darn weather!

      January 10, 2014

  • Juan L

    Due to the time change from 1:00 pm to 9:00 am I will no be able to make it.

    January 10, 2014

  • janice o.

    I'm so sorry, with the time chsnge we won't be able to make it. Hopefully, they'll be another sometime soon.

    January 10, 2014

  • KETTY D.

    so sorry to have to cancel. Bad cold. Hope to join you in another outing soon

    January 9, 2014

  • Naomi

    We really wanted to do this. Sick with flu. I know two on the waiting list will enjoy going.

    January 9, 2014

  • Michaelyn L.

    Was on wait list, but was planning to attend potluck. Plans have changed and I can't make it. Will see you all at some other upcoming event. It looks like a good day for hiking. Happy New Year.

    January 8, 2014

  • Carol M.

    I am unable to make this hike due to a work assignment. Sorry to miss it, I love Lizzy Sink and the caves! Hope everyone enjoys the weekend!

    January 6, 2014

  • Pat C.

    Is there parking for all at the intersection/meeting place? And I'm still planning on bringing the goodies for s'mores...only need a campfire ;)

    January 6, 2014

  • Maree

    Hi - I see I'm waitlisted for this. Not sure what exactly that means. Can I do the hike and potluck and not camp or do I have to wait for an okay from you to do any of it? Look forward to meeting you all. You seem like a super group.

    January 5, 2014

  • Mary P.

    Have out of town guest

    January 5, 2014

  • MARCIA

    So sorry, I was wait listed and didn't think there would be an opening so made other plans for the day. Hope to make it next time. Have a great time!!

    January 5, 2014

  • Pat

    Sorry, did not realize I had a conflict. I look forward to joining you at another event.

    January 4, 2014

  • Michaelyn L.

    Great! Thank you. I'll be there for camping and will bring my bike. Plus something for the potluck.

    January 3, 2014

  • Michaelyn L.

    I am on wait list. Live nearby. One person asked about joining potluck. If not hiking, is it possible to join the potluck and meet folks?

    January 3, 2014

    • Marcie C.

      Hi Michaelyn, Please read the revised information about the Sat hike, pot luck, and camping that I posted today.

      January 3, 2014

  • Donna T.

    Thanks for letting me in the group but am not going to be able to make it.

    January 3, 2014

  • Hart, V.

    I am having to back out. :(

    January 2, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    There is obviously a lot of interest in this hike, why is it limited to only 16 participants? Could some additional groups be added?

    January 2, 2014

  • Debbie W.

    Sorry to have to change, will be moving my mom to a new retirement center. Hope you do this one again

    January 1, 2014

  • Carol M.

    This is a beautiful hike. Will you be posting directions?

    December 31, 2013

  • Hart, V.

    Just made this list Yeah! Would like to camp

    December 30, 2013

  • Hart, V.

    Live in st petersburg. Anyone want to carpool?

    December 30, 2013

  • Maritza

    Sorry, but I will not be abble to go. I am traveling overseas.

    December 30, 2013

  • Rosemary Z.

    I can't wait to be around people that share the same interest I do!! Looking forward to the hike!!!

    December 27, 2013

  • Marcie C.

    Hi all,
    There have been some questions about the difficulty of this hike. We have a couple of areas where limestone rock crops out at the surface where you have to watch your footing. Other than that, the hike is very easy on flat ground. I recommend wearing boots for this hike since the lower part of the trail near Rt. 480 is sometimes under water (if we have a lot of rain) If the trail is under water, it means we will have to hike off trail about 50 feet to detour around the water.
    I will be hiking the 4 mile area we will be covering just before our trip and will let you know of any unusual trail conditions.

    The hike is a total of about 3.6 to 4 miles. We will spot cars so that we can hike straight through.

    November 16, 2013

  • MARCIA

    I would love to join you for one day (cannot camp overnight). I have never been to the Withlacoochee State Park and have not hiked for awhile, however it sounds wonderful. Please let me know if an opening happens!

    November 16, 2013

  • Jim M.

    Hello All,
    The response to this adventure has been quite gratifying. Marcie and I will be doing two things to allow some more of our group to hike that weekend. First, Marcie will look into the possibility of increasing the number of hikers for Saturday. Second I will apply for a permit for a Sunday hike in the Croom tract of the forest from Hog Island campground to River Junction campground. Both of these trail head campgrounds have modern bath and shower facilities. They would be a good place to camp on Saturday night, too. Marcie has offered the hospitality of her property for a Saturday night potluck dinner and camping for hikers. We can all agree hers is a very generous offer but there is a limit to the number of campers that can be accommodated at Marcie's place. If you are on the list to attend this hike, or are on the wait list, please drop me a note here so we can get an idea of how many campers must be accommodated Saturday night.

    November 15, 2013

    • Naomi

      Yes on the hike. Can we do the potluck if we are not camping? Thanks for planning this adventure. Sounds like it will be a great day.

      November 16, 2013

    • Peggy

      Hi Jim, my thanks to Marcie and you for all the both of you are doing to accommodate us. I would be interested in either hike (Saturday or Sunday), but will not be camping.

      November 16, 2013

  • Donna T.

    I am not sure exactly where this is but seems like there is a lot of water around there...any chance of one group doing a kayak while other hiking? I like any chance to use my relatively new kayak if others would be interested in that idea. I want to camp (have 4 person tent) and possibly can get there late Friday afternoon.

    November 16, 2013

  • Bonnie M.

    Sounds like what I've been looking for. I'd like to be included for both hikes. I now have a 20' camper (Rialta). So I'm ready for any kind of weather. Hope to be included. Thanks.

    November 16, 2013

  • janice o.

    Hi Jim....thanks so much to you & Marci... Please count me in for the hike & camping, with 1 guest....thanks again, so looking forward to it!!

    November 16, 2013

  • Naomi

    Is it 4 mile hike round trip? Difficulty?

    November 13, 2013

    • Jim M.

      Naomi; this is 4 miles, more or less, in 3 and a half hours. It is a well trod path with elevation changes o less than 100'. It is a good beginner hike.

      November 15, 2013

  • janice o.

    Great idea Tracy... Maybe Jim can look into it. Would love to make this trip, as I won't be rowing in January. Also, this seems really neat & interesting .

    November 15, 2013

    • Jim M.

      Marcie and I are discussing alternative means of accommodating more hikers. See the plans being discussed above. Marcie is an awesome leader who can teach a lot about natural Florida.

      November 15, 2013

  • Tracy E.

    Why is there a waiting list? Can there be two groups?

    November 15, 2013

    • Jim M.

      Hello, Tracy; Good question and one with a ready answer. Groups hiking in the forest need to have a permit so that DOF is aware of the days activities that might conflict. There may be trail runs, dog trials, hunting parties or a controlled burn happening on the same day. Also, with a large group, keeping it together can be a challenge. So 16, mol, is a manageable size. There can be two groups but a second group should hike another route or maybe go on Sunday. Stay tuned for another posting that will allow for more hikers.

      1 · November 15, 2013

  • Pam A.

    I am looking forward to this,thanks

    November 14, 2013

  • TBill

    Best to classify yourself as a disorganized hike. Groups of people meet up to explore the caves all the time. Seems kinda silly to expect people who have hiked in to see the caves NOT to explore them, but that's government for you. Been there, crawled around in them.

    November 13, 2013

    • Jim M.

      TBill, that is just plain mean and disrespectful to the hike organizer, Marcie. As she had previously explained, these are DOF rules. Not hers. Many of us have spent afternoons crawling around the caves over the years. By not following DOF rules the organizer and, by extension, myself could incur some measure of responsibility for injuries and citations arising out of your misbehavior. You are responsible for your conduct and following the rules that the organizer has established.

      November 13, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Some of us of Tampa Bay campers are staying at mutual mine campgrounds same weekend. Is it ok to invite any that might like to walk with us as well? Thanks!

    November 13, 2013

  • Kerry G.

    count me in for tent camping and Sunday.

    November 13, 2013

  • Peggy

    Marcie, I was wonder if you could say how far the hike will be and difficulty of the hike. Little new at hiking but would love to get started with a group.

    November 11, 2013

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