Head Branch Trail

EASY 63 reviews

Head Branch Trail is a 3.2 mile loop trail located near Keystone Heights, Florida that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 3.2 miles Elevation Gain: 167 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly


horseback riding

nature trips







wild flowers



Gold Head Branch State Park, a Florida State Park, is 2,000 acres (8 km) of rolling sandhills, marshes, ravines, lakes and scrub located midway between Gainesville and Jacksonville, six miles (10 km) north of Keystone Heights on SR 21. Activities include fishing, horseback, canoeing, swimming, hiking and wildlife viewing. Amenities include full facility camping, lakeside cabins, a picnic area overlooking Little Lake Johnson, and a beach on the lake. The park also has four marked hiking trails and a seven mile equestrian trail.

Nice trail too many people. But a good hike

This hike was so beautiful! There is a steady flow of people and dogs on the trail. Also at the beginning (and end) there are about 45 thick steps. We all had a blast great hike will do again!

11 months ago

Overall very nice park. Good trails, beautiful creek and nice lakes. A good example of Florida beauty.

11 months ago

We really enjoyed this trail. Well marked and maintained. We will be back.

horseback riding
Sun May 20 2018

trails were marked very well. some yellow flies not bad trails. seen Dear, & Turkey

Tue Mar 20 2018

I hiked this trail as part of the Florida Trail IDIDAHIKE 2018, always a great State Park to go hike and camp at. The trails are marked and maintained well

Mon Mar 19 2018

Took a short hike towards old grist mill. Well marked trail. But found it confusing where to locate other trails, then it started to rain. Maybe more next visit Nice playgrounds and camp sites

Sat Feb 24 2018

Had the best day hiking at the FTA I DID A HIKE 2018 event. Can’t wait to come back to this beautiful park!

Sun Dec 24 2017

The return of water in the past few years has reinvigorated the walk to how I remember it as a kid. The ravine is lovely and quite photogenic, and the walk out among the palmettos is pure North Florida. Don’t fail to notice the small bat houses along the way!

Fri Jul 21 2017

easy hike. i took the time to dip into the creek which was a nice relief from the Florida heat. saw a few sand crabs and crawfish along with some birds.

Mon Jul 10 2017

We went on a rainy afternoon and the ferns and trees were absolutely gorgeous and vibrant greens. The ravine was a lovely little hike, and there's the option for a longer hike as well. We swam in the lake, and aside from getting nibbled on by a fish, it was really nice. We plan to go back!

Thu May 25 2017

While there aren't a lot of trails, and entry fee is $5 per car, it's still a no miss for hikers and looks like a fun place to camp. Trails lead into the ravine. It gorgeous and smells so good after a rain. As a bonus, many of the local flora are marked, making this a great nature trail to learn various plants and trees.

Sun Apr 30 2017

We walked around this park for about 6.5 miles -- there's a really neat ravine, a couple lakes and some great camping areas. The trail from the ravine overlook to the "little" lake (which is currently significantly bigger than the "big" lake) has some nice elevation changes and crosses over a creek with super clear water. The only thing I really didn't like about hiking here was that there's a crapload of sand everywhere. Super soft sand that makes one mile feel more like three. There's a fair amount of shade through most of the trail but some sections have none. There are some great views on this hike but make sure to bring sun screen and lots of water.

Tue Jan 03 2017

Nice, easy trails. The water in the river is very clear and worth stopping to track through. Lots of lakes to hike to.

Sun Nov 20 2016

Nice trails. Easy enough to do with the kids. There is also tent, rv, and cabin camping as well as picnic pavilions and tables near a playground. Short drive by car or bike trail if you are up to it into Keystone Heights, a small town with a few restaurants, a grocery store, drug stores, small shops and such.

Fri Jul 01 2016

Been here a lot over the years. This trail connects to the FL trail as well, and it's easy on pets and kids. Highly recommend camping at gold head, and trekking these in spring/ fall.

Mon Jun 06 2016

Been here several times over the years.. Pretty, plenty of trails to walk. A few areas with small shallow creeks on ravines.. Nice to take your shoes off and put your feet in to cool off..

Tue Apr 05 2016

Started at park entrance and followed the Orange Blaze Trail south past Deer Lake to the Picnic Area. Very few critters and birds. It was April, 78F and sunny, with beautiful vistas of budding trees and blue skies. Easy walking: short hills and not a lot of up and down, plus an occasional root to avoid tripping over. Highlight is seeing the ravine and taking the effort to descend the stairs to experience the crystal clear creek at the bottom. My dog drank her fill and cooled off in the creek. I was disappointed that the cabin at the top of the beach/picnic area was not open. A four-panel painting by Harimandir Khalsa that depicts the four seasons of a typical sand hill pine forest is well worth seeing up close. Saw a couple Hawks on the way back.

Tue Jan 12 2016

Ive been going here for years! Theres so much to do and see, and really diverse and hilly for Florida.

Mon Jan 21 2013

Awesome park, quiet and lots of wildlife. Lakes have dried up in past few years.

Tue Nov 06 2012

Absolutely beautiful

Wed Mar 28 2012

Had to go back. The small hike around the ravine is beautiful.

Thu Mar 01 2012

Had a great time on the trail seeing the ravine and walking around in the late day. My son told me he saw a hairy white man up ahead. Now, I knew it wasn't the Bigfoot at the park entrance. I ended up being the rear of a white tail deer going up a side trail. Stayed overnight. There are lots of tics this time of year here.

27 days ago

1 month ago

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