Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park, Florida
This is hands down our favorite park! In January 2019, it became the 8th year in a row that we’ve camped here. The peace and quiet is just fantastic! After listening to the wind howl through the tall pines late one afternoon, it just doesn’t get any better than this.
During the 1930’s, this park was developed by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), and you can still see the excellent work completed by this group in the many still standing picnic pavilions and restrooms/shower buildings. There’s lots of room for picnics, family reunions, and even weddings. Though we’ve never stayed in any of the cabins (our oldest daughter, son-in-law, and their family has), walking in this area during the winter month’s gives you the absolute feeling of peace and solitude, and would be an excellent romantic get-away.
If you love hiking, biking, and solitude, this park is it! The park has 4 marked hiking trails, which can take the hiker anywhere from a 10 minute leisurely walk, up to a 5 ½ mile, 3 plus hour hike. You’ll also see the small head springs along the trail. For the peddler, take a leisurely bike ride around all of the park’s main roads, or simply bike your way out of the park, and enjoy a 5 ½ mile bike ride back to downtown Keystone Heights. This bike road by the way is a separate, 10 foot wide bike only road, part of the Palatka-Lake Butler State Trail. We road this trail last year, and it was really a great feeling to be able to bike separately from the main highway. We had loads of fun biking this, and plan on doing so again in 2019/2020.
The lack of water in the park’s lakes is nothing new to those who have been coming to this park for years. However, imagine our surprise when, while walking down the park road, we came across – water in the lake! So great to see these water areas starting to come back.
We did make it town to enjoy a great steak (Norm) and fish dinner (Phyllis), and it was the best steak dinner that I’ve had in quite a while. And we’ll be in town again in January 2020, to enjoy the Polar Bear Run and Norm’s birthday dinner in town.