White Springs is one of those towns where it's almost expected for folks to show up with a bike. If there's any one place in Florida that could be considered a true do-it-all outdoor town, this is it. Yes, I love White Springs.
During a recent RV camping stop at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, I got the bike off the rack for the first time in about a month. A sin, I know, but traveling around and working out of an RV can be a little more difficult that one might imagine. Trail time has been a little scarce lately, so I made sure to schedule in some downtime for some exploration of the 8-mile Foster's Hammock Loop. I'm glad I did, too. It's a pretty sweet ride.
During periods of rainy weather, expect to encounter patches of mud and some standing water along the trail. Hey, it's a mountain bike trail, right? Also, you'll get more that your fill of palmetto roots on this ride, so I'd recommend you put on a pair of padded bike shorts and save yourself from the dull pain that comes with this type of activity. Really, it's not bad but there are enough bumps and roots that will make you wish you had 'em on.
The trail weaves through pine forest and provides plenty of scenic views of the Suwannee River. Take a moment to stop and check out the Catfish Hole and the Suwannee River overlook, both are cool spots to take a break and snap a few photos.
Rated as an intermediate to challenging trail, the Foster's Hammock Trail isn't one that you'd want to try with your beach cruiser. A decent mountain bike and a good level of riding is all you'll need (plus those bike shorts, don't forget the bike shorts), so make sure you are aware of that before heading out.
The Foster's Hammock Trail was built and is maintained by the good folks at the Suwannee Bike Association, who have created a serious bike culture and trail network worthy of any place in the southeast. For more information and trail maps, check out www.suwannneebike.org. Take a look at their event schedule while you are at it – really, really good stuff.