Florida Springs Bike Tour
Camping third night:
Stephen Foster State Folk Culture Center, P.O. Drawer G, White Springs, FL 32096, (904) 397-2733. Reservations recommended.
The third leg of this bicycle route travels 30 miles from Ocean Pond Campground to White Springs and the Stephen Foster State Folk Culture Center. The roads are magnificent through the National Forest, smooth, lightly traveled, and scenic. Hunting season (second week in November through third week in January) is a less desirable time to travel through this area. Check with the Osceola National Forest Office if you have questions.
The route touches the northern limit of Lake City before heading north. Watch for a special place one mile after turning onto CR 131, Falling Creek Church. This weathered, all wood church has been in service for over 100 years. Its longevity is due to its construction of heart pine, the resinous heart wood that is termite resistant. Across the road is a trail to Falling Creek Falls. One quarter mile from the highway is a blackwater creek with a 12-foot waterfall, a rarity in Florida.
The Stephen Foster State Folk Culture Center is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the folk culture of Florida. Exhibits on local crafts (quilting and basket making) and folk music are worthwhile. The center also commemorates Stephen Foster, whose song, "Old Folks at Home" has made the Suwannee River world famous. Memorial Day weekend the park hosts an annual folk festival of gigantic proportions. About 10,000 people attend each year to see and sample craft demonstrations, traditional foods, and folk music from bluegrass to negro spirituals.
Camping at Stephen Foster Center is presently offered by special arrangement only at their group campsite. Be sure to call ahead to make arrangements.
Busier roads are encountered twice. A short jog (0.4 mile) on US 41 connects CR 25 and CR 131. US 41 is encountered again for 3.4 miles to enter White Springs. Use caution as the road carries a fair amount of high-speed traffic. Watch for turning traffic especially near the interchange with I-10.
The only services available along the way are near Lake City. A convenience store is located on US 441. Services are also available in White Springs (convenience stores, grocery market, hardware, and restaurants).
Directions from Olustee Battlefield (Ocean Pond) to Stephen Foster State Folk Cultural Center
0.0 From Ocean Pond campground, turn left onto entrance road.
0.9 Turn left onto CR 250A (unmarked).
1.6 I-10 overpass.
2.5 Enter Columbia County.
4.2 Turn left onto CR 250 (unmarked).
13.0 Pass Osceola Work Center.
15.2 Cross US 441, road becomes CR 25A.
18.3 Turn right onto US 41.
18.4 Turn right onto CR 131.
19.7 Falling Creek, footpath to waterfall in woods on right.
19.8 Falling Creek Church.
23.2 Turn left onto CR 246.
26.4 Turn right onto US 41.
28.7 Enter White Springs.
29.6 White Springs Springhouse.
29.7 Turn left onto entrance road to Stephen Foster Center.
Total Trip Mileage to date: 159.6
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
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