Florida Springs Bike Tour
The last day's route goes 63 miles in an easterly direction to return to Paynes Prairie State Preserve. The majority of the travel is on Levy County roads, many with rougher surface conditions.
The route passes the Levy County Courthouse in Bronson and continues eastward to Williston. After this small service hub, the northwest corner of the great Ocala Limestone Plateau is crossed, affording a quick glimpse of the horse farm country so abundant directly to the south in Marion County. Just like Kentucky's Bluegrass Plateau, the limestone bedrock of this area grows some of the most nutritious pastureland in the U.S. and produces fine horses.
The historic town of Micanopy is a center for antique traders and art shops. There is a bed and breakfast inn, and the town sits sleepily in the shadows of its magnificent canopy oak trees.
The route between Manatee Springs and Paynes Prairie contains two significant stretches of coarsely surfaced roadway. The first stretch on CR 320 is almost nine miles long. The second on CR 316 is just under eight miles. Padded handlebars and cycling gloves will keep.
A busier section of highway is encountered on US ALT 27 just before entering Bronson. The lanes are narrow and carry a large volume of high-speed car and truck traffic. Use extra caution. A second busy road is encountered on US 441 between Micanopy and Paynes Prairie. This is a four-lane, divided highway with a paved shoulder.
Stores are located at fairly good intervals in Chiefland, Bronson, Williston, and Micanopy. Micanopy does not have a grocery store, but there are two convenience stores on US 441 before you reach Paynes Prairie.
Directions from Manatee Springs State Park to Paynes Prairie State Preserve
0.0 From park Entrance Station straight onto CR 320.
5.8 Turn left onto CR 341.
6.1 Turn right onto CR 320 (unsigned road just before crossing US ALT 27 & 19/98).
6.2 Cross US ALT 27 & US 19/98.
7.2 Cross CR 321.
8.5 Cross US 129.
11.0 Cross CR 319.
14.6 Turn right onto CR 339.
18.1 Turn left onto US ALT 27.
19.6 Turn left onto CR 32 in Bronson.
21.0 Turn right onto CR 337.
21.9 Cross SR 24 (Thrasher Dr) road curves to left and becomes Court St.
22.2 Levy County Courthouse.
22.3 Turn right onto Picnic.
22.4 Turn left onto US ALT 27.
22.5 Turn right onto CR 337 (Pennsylvania Ave).
25.6 Turn left onto CR 316.
38.2 Turn left onto SR 121.
41.6 Cross US 41 N/SR 121 N, continue on 316C.
42.0 Turn left onto rough road with no sign (becomes Main St in Williston).
43.0 Turn right onto US ALT 27 (West Noble Ave).
44.0 Turn left onto CR 318.
45.5 Enter Marion County.
46.3 Pass Betty Crocker's "One Potato, Two Potato" Horse Farm.
52.3 Turn left onto CR 329.
57.9 Enter Alachua County.
59.4 I-75 underpass.
60.6 Turn left onto CR 234 in downtown Micanopy.
61.0 Turn left onto US 441.
62.4 Turn right into Paynes Prairie State Preserve.
62.7 Park Entrance Station.
Total Trip Mileage to date: 327.0
As well as these directions, you should bring along your own map, in case you miss a turn, get lost, a road changes, or for any of the other thousands of reasons that you may need to vary your route.
Many thanks to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for this tour description.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication