|The Dixie Mainline as it is today|
Dixie Mainline Trail
Constructed as a tramway in the 1920s for a narrow-gauge railroad to remove massive cypress logs from the heart of the California Swamp, the Dixie Mainline Trail is one of the most remote rural routes in Florida. Along the swampy coastline of Dixie County, it is a traverse through the wilds of the Big Bend. Protected as part of Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge, the California Swamp is a place where tannic and salt waters meet, and where alligators are unfamiliar with human intrusion.
The mostly one-lane limestone tramway can be driven, biked, or walked. Pulloffs are infrequent. There are a few dedicated parking spots. Winter is the best time to visit due to the hefty insect population. Expect to see a lot of alligators. Do not attempt this route if the road is flooded.
At Old Town, turn left at the light to head south on CR 349. After 9.6 miles on CR 349, you enter the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge. Keep alert for the small brown “Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge” sign at 21.7 miles. Turn right onto the limestone road with the sign “Dixie Mainline Road Guided Trail,” and pick up an interpretive guide at the roadside kiosk. As you drive, don’t expect to go more than 20 MPH, and keep alert for oncoming traffic.
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