Withlacoochee River (Florida)

Withlacoochee River route
Withlacoochee River, looking east in Hernando County, just north of the Pasco County border.

The Withlacoochee River (or Crooked River) originates in central Florida's Green Swamp, east of Polk City. It flows west, then north, and then turns northwest and finally west again before it empties into the Gulf of Mexico near Yankeetown. The river is 141 miles (227 km) long[1] and has a drainage basin of 1,170 square miles (3,000 km2). It is believed to have been named after the Withlacoochee River to the north.

Along its route are the 46-mile-long (74 km) Withlacoochee State Trail, the longest paved rail trail in Florida,[2] the Cypress Lake Preserve, a 324-acre (1.31 km2) park with approximately 600 feet (180 m) of frontage,[3] and Nobleton Wayside Park, a 2-acre (8,100 m2) park in Nobleton that includes a boat ramp, shelter, basketball court, and picnic tables.

The Withlacoochee River flows through Pasco and Hernando counties, and then forms part of the boundary between Hernando County and Sumter County, and all of the boundary between Citrus County and Sumter County, between Citrus County and Marion County and between Citrus County and Levy County (including Lake Rousseau). The largest city close to the river is Dade City.


"Withlacoochee" probably stems from a Muskhogean dialect, which suggests that its application is comparatively recent. It is compounded of Creek we (water), thlako (big), and chee (little), or little big water. This word combination signifies little river in the Creek language, and as we-lako or wethlako may also refer to a lake, it may signify a river of lakes, or lake river. The Withlacoochee flows just to the eastward of Tsala Apopka Lake, and the St. Johns River which flows through a series of large and small lakes was called welaka by the Seminoles.[4] An alternate etymology holds that Withlacoochee is a Native American word meaning "crooked river", which accurately describes the river as it makes its 70-mile journey from the Green Swamp in northern Polk County to the Gulf of Mexico at Yankeetown.[5]

List of crossingsEdit

Crossing Carries Image Location Coordinates
Headwaters (Green Swamp) 28°21′39″N 81°49′8″W / 28.36083°N 81.81889°W / 28.36083; -81.81889
160210   SR 33   Lake-Polk County Line. 28°21′39″N 81°49′8″W / 28.36083°N 81.81889°W / 28.36083; -81.81889
140018   SR 471   Sumter-Pasco-Polk County Line. 28°18′47″N 82°3′21″W / 28.31306°N 82.05583°W / 28.31306; -82.05583
River Road (The Lanier Bridge)[6]   Withlacoochee River County Park,
East of Dade City
Former ACL Railroad Bridge
(Orange Belt Railway)
Withlacoochee State Forest
Richloam WMA
140031   SR 575   Lacoochee 28°28′34″N 82°9′22″W / 28.47611°N 82.15611°W / 28.47611; -82.15611
CSX S-Line (Ocala Subdivision) 28°28′39″N 82°9′46″W / 28.47750°N 82.16278°W / 28.47750; -82.16278
080030   US 301   28°28′48″N 82°10′40″W / 28.48000°N 82.17778°W / 28.48000; -82.17778
140066   US 98   Trilby 28°28′36″N 82°11′45″W / 28.47667°N 82.19583°W / 28.47667; -82.19583
   US 98-SR 50
Cortez Boulevard
  Ridge Manor 28°31′8″N 82°12′34″W / 28.51889°N 82.20944°W / 28.51889; -82.20944
Confluence with Little Withlacoochee River River Junction State Park 28°34′21″N 82°12′0″W / 28.57250°N 82.20000°W / 28.57250; -82.20000
080026 (NB)
080025 (SB)
  Interstate 75 Silver Lake 28°34′47″N 82°13′2″W / 28.57972°N 82.21722°W / 28.57972; -82.21722
184019    CR 476   Nobleton 28°38′40″N 82°15′26″W / 28.64444°N 82.25722°W / 28.64444; -82.25722
184006    CR 48   Bay Hill 28°43′26″N 82°14′31″W / 28.72389°N 82.24194°W / 28.72389; -82.24194
020004 (EB)
020003 (WB)
  SR 44
Gulf-Atlantic Highway
  Rutland 28°51′6″N 82°13′17″W / 28.85167°N 82.22139°W / 28.85167; -82.22139
020008   SR 200   Stoke's Ferry 28°59′19″N 82°20′59″W / 28.98861°N 82.34972°W / 28.98861; -82.34972
Former San Jose Boulevard Bridge Dunnellon-Citrus Springs 29°2′34″N 82°27′26″W / 29.04278°N 82.45722°W / 29.04278; -82.45722
Dunnellon Trail Bridge
Abandoned Seaboard Air Line Railroad line
  Dunnellon-Citrus Springs 29°2′34″N 82°27′26″W / 29.04278°N 82.45722°W / 29.04278; -82.45722
CSX Citrus Springs-Dunnellon Bridge   Citrus Springs-Dunnellon 29°2′43″N 82°27′51″W / 29.04528°N 82.46417°W / 29.04528; -82.46417
Brittan Alexander Bridge
  US 41
Main Street
  Citrus Springs-Dunnellon 29°2′45″N 82°27′53″W / 29.04583°N 82.46472°W / 29.04583; -82.46472
020920 (NB)
020005 (SB)
   US 19 98   Red Level-Inglis 29°1′31″N 82°40′9″W / 29.02528°N 82.66917°W / 29.02528; -82.66917
Mouth (Gulf of Mexico) 28°59′39″N 82°45′30″W / 28.99417°N 82.75833°W / 28.99417; -82.75833

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed April 18, 2011
  2. ^ Withlacoochee State Trail (Florida Greenways and Trails)
  3. ^ Hernando Parks
  4. ^ Simpson, J. Clarence (1956). Mark F. Boyd (ed.). Florida Place-Names of Indian Derivation. Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Geological Survey.
  5. ^ http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Florida-Forest-Service/Our-Forests/State-Forests/Withlacoochee-State-Forest
  6. ^ The Lanier Bridge; History of Pasco County (Fivay.org)

Further readingEdit

  • Henderson, Rex. 1990. Withlacoochee River. in Marth, Del and Marty Marth, eds. The Rivers of Florida. Sarasota, Florida: Pineapple Press, Inc. ISBN 0-910923-70-1.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 28°59′41″N 82°45′28″W / 28.9948°N 82.7579°W / 28.9948; -82.7579