The Rooks Trial could be called the "Trail of Tranquility" for its beauty, wildness and peacefulness.

The Rooks Trail at the Homosassa Tract of the Withlacoochee State Forest is a 2.7-mile wilderness-walking trail. The trailhead is two miles west of US19 on Burnt Bridge Road. This trail is a beautiful walk, away from any sign of human development. The trail is well marked and maintained, and is a mix of upland sandhill habitat with hardwood swamp, pine forest and open meadow. Wildlife is abundant, and bear may be seen. Stay on the trail.

There are many miles of trails in the Homosassa Tract and it is easy to wander off. If you do find you have strayed, just double back the way you came. A side trip on this trail is at the trailhead to the left on Swiftmud land. Follow the road for a mile to a group of ponds. This area is worth a visit.

Also on the Homosassa Tract on US19 four miles north of the fire tower is Heron Pond Observation Site.

Access to the trail:

The Division of Forestry Homosassa Tract office is located on US19 six miles south of Homosassa Springs at the fire tower and Burnt Bridge Road. Take Burnt Bridge Road for two miles west to the end of the road. Park in the lot near the kiosk.

Hours of Operation:

Dawn to dusk. Trail is closed during hunting season. Check with the office at US19 and Burnt Bridge Road for hunting season dates. Springtime is the best time to bird this trail for migratory birds. Summer is a good time to observe Swallowtail Kites. Bring water and insect spray at all times.

Highlights:

Rooks Trail could be called the "Trail of Tranquility" for its beauty and peacefulness. Springtime is the best time to bird this trail for migratory birds. Summer time is a good time to observe Swallowtail Kites. Bring water and insect spray at all times.

Birding Opportunities:

Rooks Trail is an upland bird habitat with wild turkey and northern bobwhite common. Red tail and red shoulder hawks are seen. Merlin has been observed in migration. All the common passerines are here. Vireos, warblers and swallows may be seen. Barred owls and great horned owls are common, usually seen or heard in early evening. A thirty to forty bird count is possible on this trail during the winter to spring season. This is a must trail for any birder, not only for the large number of birds but also for the pleasure of visiting this trail.





Photography by Bill Garvin