Featuring: Bike the Loop Day, October 29, 2022.
What’s an NRT?
One of Crystal River’s many nature trails received a national designation last month. The United States Department of Interior has recognized our very own, Seven-Mile Loop as a National Recreational Trail (NRT). Nine trails received an NRT label in 2022, with the Seven-Mile Loop being Florida’s first this year, joining more than 1,300 existing NRTs found in every U.S. state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. With ecotourists and adventurers consulting the NRT website to plan vacations and activities, this title could boost the economies of nearby communities.
Seven-Mile Loop is a part of Crystal River Preserve State Park. This hiking and biking trail is a good display of Florida’s varying coastal habitats. From pine flat woods to coastal marsh, it then transitions into hardwood hammock. The prior owner formed this trail from old logging and access roads. The entire refuge boasts a total of 27,500 acres. One will also get a glimpse of Florida wildlife, most common seen are squirrels, racoons and sandhill cranes. Keep an eye out for otters, they are known to hang out in the shallows and hunt for redfish at high tide. With benches at every mile marker, this trail is accessible to trekkers of all ages. Like every other nature trail, Seven-Mile Loop is open to the elements. Be sure to watch the weather when planning your trip. Heavy rain can produce puddles which can be an issue to some adventurers. The official length of this trail is 7.23 miles which makes it a 3-5 hour walk or 45 minutes to an hour and a half bike ride (depending on one’s pace).
Bike the Loop Day
To celebrate the Seven-Mile Loop’s national designation, the Friends of the Crystal River State Parks have invited the community to explore the trail October 29th during Bike the Loop Day. There will be no park or event fees, but donations are appreciated! Children under the age of 16 should wear helmets. Trail hours are from 8am to sunset, every day. Check in at the parks administrative office located at 3266 N. Sailboat ave, Crystal River, Florida. This is also the start and finish points (and also the only restroom). Water and tire pump stations will be available near the halfway point until 2 pm. Cyclists should bring snacks, drinks, bug spray, sunscreen and sturdy shoes.
For more information call (352)795-3817 or visit https://www.floridastateparks.org/learn/hike-seven-mile-loop-trail-crystal-river