Around TallahasseeClark Evans, January 26, 2008
While there are hundreds of miles of paved and unpaved trails in Tallahassee itself, there are many miles of paved and unpaved trails within an hour’s drive or so just waiting to be explored. Here is a listing and brief descriptions of just some of these trails
Blountstown Greenway Bike Path: Blountstown, FL, approx. 4 miles in length
No map currently available.
Opening in 2007, this is the region’s newest paved path and was recently added to the Florida National Scenic Trail. Starting in Sam Atkins Park on the west side of Blountstown, this trail runs through the city on its way to the Apalachicola River, providing a mix of small town and backwoods Florida. Facilities and parking are available at Sam Atkins Park, accessible by taking State Road 20 to West 19th Street and heading north for a short distance.
Earl May Boat Basin Trail: Bainbridge, GA, 2-6+ miles in length
No map currently available.
The Earl May Boat Basin in Bainbridge, GA, about 45 minutes northwest of Tallahassee, features a network of paved trails near and along the Flint River. The outer loop extends for almost 6 miles in length with several options for shorter distances as well; these are pictured on the detailed map posted at the trailhead at the start of the trail. The trailhead – along with water, parking, and restroom facilities – is located at the west end of the park, itself located just west of the Shotwell St./US 84 Bypass intersection on the west side of town.
Four Freedoms Greenway Trail: Madison, FL, approx. 5.7 miles in length
The Four Freedoms Greenway Trail is a paved trail starting in the town of Hanson, a few miles north of Madison along County Road 145, and ending at the banks of the Withlachoochee River on the Florida/Georgia border. Between the small towns of Hanson and Pinetta, the trail runs past pasture lands along CR 145, while north of Pinetta the trail runs through a heavy tree canopy in the midst of forested lands. Parking is available in both Hanson and Pinetta, with bathroom facilities available in Pinetta at the Pinetta Market.
St. George Island Bike Path: St. George Island, FL, approx. 4 miles in length
The St. George Island Bike Path runs along Gulf Beach Dr. from the entrance to the St. George Island Plantation property eastward to the end of E. Pine Ave., about 2.4 miles shy of the state park on the east end of the island. Parking, water, and restroom facilities are available at the park at the end of the main entrance to the island. A good path to explore on vacation or while at the beach for the day, but do take note of the open exposure to wind, sun, and humidity, particularly in the summer months.
Tate’s Hell State Forest: between Carrabelle and Eastpoint, FL, approx. 4 miles in length
The High Bluff Coastal Trail runs through the midst of Tate’s Hell State Forest, an ecosystem of slash pines and wetlands located between the Gulf Coast and Apalachicola National Forest southwest of Tallahassee. The trail itself runs parallel to US 98 between Carrabelle and Eastpoint, with parking available at the trailheads on the east and west ends of the trail along US 98. Terrain along the trail is mostly flat, running through the sandy soils in some of the old pine plantings in the forest.
Lake Talquin State Forest: about 10 miles west of Tallahassee on SR 20, approx. 9 miles in length
Located within the Lake Talquin State Forest are the Ft. Braden Trailwalker Trails, a series of three looping trails comprising just over 9 miles of forested trails along the south shores of Lake Talquin. Look for the trailhead (and parking and restroom facilities) about 1.5 miles west of Coe Landing Rd. along State Road 20, or about 8 miles west of Capital Circle SW. These trails run through the heart of the pine and oak forests along rolling terrain through the midst of the forest, providing yet another getaway within a short distance of town.
Torreya State Park: about 35 miles west of Tallahassee, approx. 14.5 miles in length
Torreya State Park features some of the most breathtaking yet challenging terrain in north Florida, running along the bluffs of the Apalachicola River. It is a perfect area to train for off-road running adventures and well worth the drive. To get there, take I-10 west from Tallahassee, exiting at the Chattahoochee exit and following the signs to the park. There are two main trails within the park, the River Bluff Loop and Rock Creek Loop trails, each just over 7 miles in length and both challenging hiking paths. Stock up on water before setting out on either trail. A small entrance fee ($2) is required for entrance to the state park.