For Your Daily Dose of the Tropics
Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park
One of the CCC cabins at Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park
Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park was developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps on this 2,000-acre property on the central ridge of Florida back in the 1930's. Gold Head Branch is a spring-fed stream flowing at the bottom of a deep ravine. The stream feeds a series of marshes and lakes in the scrub habitat, making this a great place to find wildlife.
Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park offers several nature trails and a three-mile stretch of the Florida Trail. The large picnic area offers tables and grills, all overlooking Little Lake Johnson. The park also offers several fully-equipped lakefront cabins (built by the CCC) and a full-facility campground (74 sites, each with picnic table, grill, electric and water) in addition to group and primitive sites. Each of the three campgrounds have centrally located restrooms and showers.
The park also offers canoe rentals ($4 per hour, $10 per 1/2 day, $20 per day) and fishing. In addition to the four marked hiking trails on the property there's a seven-mile trail ride for folks on horseback. The riding trail is rated as intermediate because there is some soft sand in spots. Riders must present a current negative Coggins test at the Ranger Station when registering.
For day use, Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park is open from 8 am to sunset every day of the year.
To get there: go about six miles north of Keystone Heights on State Route 21.
The picnic area at Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park
Map of Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park
Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park area map