Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park


Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park in Keystone Heights, FL has about 8 miles of trails, of which we walked about 6.5. The day started out nice and overcast, but by the end the temperature was approaching 90 and the sun was beating us down into the sand, so the last part of our hike didn’t result in a lot of pictures.

The park has a $5 entrance fee, and if you wanted to you could park at the entrance and start immediately on part of the Florida Trail. We decided to keep driving to the Ravine Overlook and hop on the trail from there.

A lot of these trails are really soft sand, which is fine early on in the hike when you still have energy, but after a while it really gets to you. I also ended up with a huge blister on the bottom of my foot from sliding around on the loose ground, so that was fun. But that’s really the worst of these trails. This park is really beautiful, and there was a point where we came down a hill and were greeted with a wide open landscape where the lakes were. It looked like a painting, we stood there for probably 5 minutes just looking around.

Past that is what seemed like the main recreational area of the park, where they rent out canoes and you can go swimming in the lake. Across the road there’s a huge picnic area and a playground and all that. We were glad to have a bathroom directly in the middle of our hike, that’s definitely a luxury we don’t get very often.

We continued down the Florida Trail for a while longer before dipping off towards the campsites on a road that leads to what is supposed to be the bigger of two lakes in the park. We haven’t gotten much rain lately though, so it turned out to be significantly smaller.

On the way back, we stopped by the amphitheater for a snack and on the way back past the campsites we saw a little baby deer running across the street by itself on wobbly legs. Trip made.


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