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 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; the Cypress Lake Preserve, a 324-acre (1.31 km2) park with approximately 600 feet (180 m) of frontage; 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.
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. 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.
List of crossings
|Headwaters (Green Swamp)|
|160210||SR 33||Lake-Polk County Line.|
|140018||SR 471||Sumter-Pasco-Polk County Line.|
|River Road (The Lanier Bridge)||Withlacoochee River County Park,
East of Dade City
|Former ACL Railroad Bridge
(Orange Belt Railway)
|Withlacoochee State Forest
|CSX S-Line (Ocala Subdivision)|
| US 98-SR 50
|Confluence with Little Withlacoochee River||River Junction State Park|
|Interstate 75||Silver Lake|
|184006||CR 48||Bay Hill|
| SR 44
|020008||SR 200||Stoke's Ferry|
|Former San Jose Boulevard Bridge||Dunnellon-Citrus Springs|
|Dunnellon Trail Bridge
Abandoned Seaboard Air Line Railroad line
|CSX Citrus Springs-Dunnellon Bridge||Citrus Springs-Dunnellon|
|Brittan Alexander Bridge
| US 41
|US 19 98||Red Level-Inglis|
|Mouth (Gulf of Mexico)|
- U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed April 18, 2011
- Withlacoochee State Trail (Florida Greenways and Trails)
- Hernando Parks
- Amy Wimmer, Schwarb (August 28, 2005). "Scouts sell land to water district". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
- Simpson, J. Clarence (1956). Mark F. Boyd (ed.). Florida Place-Names of Indian Derivation. Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Geological Survey.
- "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.
- The Lanier Bridge; History of Pasco County (Fivay.org)
- 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.
- Withlacoochee South Paddling Trail and Withlacoochee North Paddling Trail from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection