Withlacoochee River (Florida)

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Course of the southern Withlacoochee River
Withlacoochee River, looking east in Hernando County, just north of the Pasco County border

The Withlacoochee River or Crooked River is a river in central Florida, in the United States. It originates in the Green Swamp, east of Polk City, flowing west, then north, then northwest and finally west again before emptying 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 in the northern part of the state, near the border with Georgia.

Along the route of central Florida's Withlacoochee River is 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 Southwest Florida Water Management District operates a 5,484-acre (2,219 ha) nature preserve and recreational area with 3.7 miles (6.0 km) of frontage on the Withlacoochee River in Citrus County. The property was purchased for $13.5 million in 2005 from the South Florida Council, which had used it as the McGregor Smith Scout Reservation.[4]

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.[5] 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.[6]

List of crossings[edit]

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 Florida 33.svg SR 33 NB FL 33 over the Withlacoochee River.jpg Lake-Polk County Line. 28°21′39″N 81°49′8″W / 28.36083°N 81.81889°W / 28.36083; -81.81889
140018 Florida 471.svg SR 471 Northbound FL 471 over Withlacoochee River Bridge.JPG 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)[7] Lanier Bridge at Withlacoochee River County Park.jpg Withlacoochee River County Park,
East of Dade City
Former ACL Railroad Bridge
(Orange Belt Railway)
Withlacoochee State Forest
Richloam WMA
140031 Florida 575.svg SR 575 Withlacoochee River East of FL 575.JPG 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.svg US 301 US 301 Withlacoochee River bridge03.jpg 28°28′48″N 82°10′40″W / 28.48000°N 82.17778°W / 28.48000; -82.17778
140066 US 98.svg US 98 US 98 Bridge over Withlacoochee River (Northbound).JPG Trilby 28°28′36″N 82°11′45″W / 28.47667°N 82.19583°W / 28.47667; -82.19583
US 98.svgFlorida 50.svg US 98-SR 50
Cortez Boulevard
US 98-FL 50 @ Withlacoochee River.jpg 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)
I-75.svg Interstate 75 Silver Lake 28°34′47″N 82°13′2″W / 28.57972°N 82.21722°W / 28.57972; -82.21722
184019 Hernando County 476.svgSumter County 476.svg CR 476 Hernando-Sumter CR 476 Bridge; Looking North.JPG Nobleton 28°38′40″N 82°15′26″W / 28.64444°N 82.25722°W / 28.64444; -82.25722
184006 Citrus County 48.svgSumter County 48.svg CR 48 Citrus-Sumter CR 48 Bridge; Looking East(Wynn Haven).JPG Bay Hill 28°43′26″N 82°14′31″W / 28.72389°N 82.24194°W / 28.72389; -82.24194
020004 (EB)
020003 (WB)
Florida 44.svg SR 44
Gulf-Atlantic Highway
FL 44 Withlacoochee River Bridge; Looking SE-2.JPG Rutland 28°51′6″N 82°13′17″W / 28.85167°N 82.22139°W / 28.85167; -82.22139
020008 Florida 200.svg SR 200 NB Florida SR 200 Bridge; Withlacoochee River.JPG 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
Crossing the Withlacoochie River in Dunnellon - panoramio.jpg 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 US 41 Withlacoochee River Bridge; View of CSX Bridge.JPG 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.svg US 41
Main Street
NB US 41 Bridge; Boating and Canoeing signs.JPG 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.svgUS 98.svg US 19 98 NB US 19-98 at Withlacoochee River-Outstanding Waterway.jpg 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 also[edit]


  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. ^ Amy Wimmer, Schwarb (August 28, 2005). "Scouts sell land to water district". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  5. ^ Simpson, J. Clarence (1956). Mark F. Boyd (ed.). Florida Place-Names of Indian Derivation. Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Geological Survey.
  6. ^ "Withlacoochee State Forest / State Forests / Our Forests / Florida Forest Service / Divisions & Offices / Home - Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services". Archived from the original on 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  7. ^ The Lanier Bridge; History of Pasco County (Fivay.org)

Further reading[edit]

  • 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 links[edit]

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