Florida Guide > State Parks
MIKE ROESS GOLD HEAD BRANCH STATE PARK
The Mike Roess Gold Head State Park is locted 6 miles north of Keystone Heights, halfway between Gainseville and Jacksonville on S. R. 21.
This park encompasses 2000 plus acres on the central ridge of Florida and is set in undulating sand hills. Springs emanate from a deep ravine and lakes, scrub and marsh land make a rich environment for the flora and fauna.
In the nineteen thirties, the Civilian Conservation Corps along with The World Progress Administration joined together to turn the acres into a recreation area for the public. The cabins they built then are still used today and you can see other examples of their craftsmanship throughout the park.
The area became a State Park in 1935, making it one of Floridas earliest State Parks.
There is a beach on Little Lake Johnson which you may swim in though there are no life guards. There are picnic tables and barbecues provided along with a childrens playground. If you are feeling energetic, they also have volley ball courts and horseshoe pits nearby.
If you would rather be on the water than in it then you can rent a canoe. These cost $4 for an hour or $20 for the whole day.
Fishing is allowed at Gold Head; here you can catch bass (of course) along with pan fish and catfish. At certain times, the water levels drop which make the fish less plentiful; check with the park before you go.
Naturally, there are some good nature trails. The Florida Trail is the most challenging; it is approximately 3 miles long and starts at the park entrance. This takes you over the areas high country and is not suitable for the less fit.
The Ravine Ridge goes through the ravine stairway and mill site along the upper ridges of th ravine. Loblolly trees inspired the name of the next trail (Loblolly Trail) this loops round some tall Loblolly trees and starts and ends at the mill site.
Fern Loop is the last trail and is a gentle short walk from the ravine stairway to the head springs.
During your hiking, you may spot a deer, fox, some kestrels or bald eagles.
October is the best time to see wild flowers and there are guided full moon walks held by the rangers right through the year. This is a 3 mile walk on the Ravine Trail and part of the Florida Trail.
Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park
6239 S. R. 21
Keystone Heights, Florida 32656
Fax: Contact Park for Number
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