Trail Brochure download in pdf format
The Big Oak Trail features a loop
trail in the northern portion of Suwannee River State Park, connected to the
park’s day use area by segments of the Suwannee River and Ellaville sections of
the Florida Trail and by park trails. Hikers follow both the Suwannee and the
Withlacoochee Rivers and cross both rivers on bridges. The trail is blazed in
two different colors: orange for the continuous Florida Trail and blue for the
connector trails. The parking area is west of the river off old US 90, where
an interpretive side trail leads to the ruins of the Drew Mansion, once the
plantation home of Florida’s reconstruction-era Governor.
The Big Oak Loop follows the banks of both the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers, with deep sinkholes paralleling the trail. At approximately the halfway point of the loop, the trail overlooks the confluence of both rivers, where there is a primitive campsite on the bluffs.
Many large oak trees shade the trail along the river bluffs. The namesake tree for the trail has no sign but is marked with a serrated log set into the footpath in front of the enormous oak.
Parts of the Withlacoochee side of the loop follow an old dirt road which led to the ferry crossing between the defunct towns of Columbus and Ellaville, passing the second magnitude Suwannacoochee Spring. The Columbus cemetery may be seen along the Sand Hills Trail in Suwannee River State Park on the opposite side of the river.