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Crews Lake Wilderness Park Report

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Report By:  admin    Date: 8/2/2009 
Rating:n/a     Photos: See 9 photos     Map & Directions: View

A scouting trip to find new places to paddle in Southwest Florida. This time to Crews Lake Wilderness Park, a 113 acre park in west Pasco County. From various websites I saw it had a boat ramp, fishing, camping and a railroad. Only thing missing - water.

My Report:

Scouring the Internet for a new place to kayak in Pasco county was turning out harder than imagined. I did find one location this morning and even read a bit about it. Crews Lake Wilderness Park is located off the Suncoast Expressway and SR-52. See directions for specifics.

This afternoon's thunderstorms arrived early so I made way to Crews Lake about 2pm. First stop at the new park was the observation tower so I can get a good view of the lake.

Imagine my surprise when the lake simply was not there. Hardly a bucket of water surrounded the end of the fishing pier and the rest of the lake looked like it was cut straight out of Paynes Prairie.

I snapped a few photos and headed to the boat ramp, hoping for a secret channel leading to a lake filled with bass, panfish and maybe even a gator or two. No such luck. The boat ramp ended in a grassy field with a few marsh areas.

I stopped a park employee who said the lake has been dry for about three years. He had the insight to guess the Internet was where I found the park info. After I confirmed with an unhappy "yes", he said it would be good if someone posted the lake didn't actually exist at this time. Hence, the reason for my trip report.

But all was not lost. I explored the park some more and came across the Central Pasco & Gulf (CP&G) railroad. It is a 7 1/2" gauge railway being constructed within the park boundary. You can checkout their website at for info on when the train runs and how you can ride for a $1 donation.

Overall, Crews Lake is well maintained, has good facilities and a low number of visitors makes this a great place to have a picnic, hike or ride a bike. Just don't bring your fishing pole, kayak or canoe.

Get Map & Directions for this trip

Location Data:

Difficulty: Easy
Location Type: Lake
Fees/Costs $: Free

Photos from Crews Lake Wilderness Park:    (Click image to view full size)

Crews Lake Sign No Comm
Crews Lake Sign

A sign near the entrance to Crews Lake still shows the lake. Was tempted to get out my green marker and draw in some grass.

Observation Tower No Comm
Observation Tower

A well constructed observation tower at Crews Lake provides a panoramic view of the area.

Crews Lake Fish Pier No Comm
Crews Lake Fish Pier

Not much water found at the end of the fishing pier.

Waterways No Comm

The shallow waterways found northeast of the observation deck are really water filled roadway and trails.

Crews Lake Boat Ramp No Comm
Crews Lake Boat Ramp

Not exactly what I expected to see at the end of a boat ramp.

Heart Plants No Comm
Heart Plants

Spotted this plant with heart shaped leaves. It's some sort of vine that was covering trees near a picnic shelter.

CP&G Train Station No Comm
CP&G Train Station

The Dade City terminal along the CP&G narrow gauge railway at Crews Lake.

7.5 Inch Track No Comm
7.5 Inch Track

Looking down the 7.5 inch tracks at the CP&G Railroad.

Train Tracks No Comm
Train Tracks

Train tracks heading into the woods at Crews Lake Wilderness Park.


Special Interests and Comments:

Special InterestsIf you are in the neighborhood and want to paddle a lake, try Weeki Wachee Preserve in Spring Hill.

Post Date: 8/2/2009

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