Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail, Florida

Sixteen miles of the rail trail are managed by the Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Greenways & Trails. It runs due south from the main Tallahassee trailhead near Capital Circle (US 319) southeast, to the coastal town of St. Marks.

by American Trails Staff


Bike rack and rail section; photo by Doug Alderson.

Featured
National Recreation Trail

Designated in 2010


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The Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail, managed by the Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Greenways & Trails (OGT), runs 16 miles from Florida’s capital city to the coastal town of St. Marks. An additional 4.5 miles of trail north of Capital Circle is maintained by the City of Tallahassee. The paved trail provides an excellent workout for bicyclists, walkers and skaters and features a Boundless Playground®. The trail also offers opportunities for horseback riding on the adjacent unpaved trail and access to the Munson Hills Off-Road Trail in the Apalachicola National Forest. The trail is a completed section of the developing 120-mile “Capital City to the Sea Loop” and is a destination along the “Big Bend Scenic Byway.”

The Florida Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund (Trustees) holds fee simple title to the property. The property is leased to OGT through December 15, 2043. Development for the paving of the trail was funded by the Florida Department of Transportation. Construction of the Wakulla Station Boundless Playground was made possible by a donation from the nature-based Felburn Foundation. "Barrier-free Boundless Playgrounds" enable all children— including those with physical, developmental, cognitive and sensory disabilities—to experience independent, self-directed play. Playground equipment is sensory rich so children with developmental and sensory disabilities can actively and safely play with their peers.

This railroad stimulated the region’s development and settlement by transporting goods— including cotton, turpentine, and timber— to Apalachee Bay for shipment. During the Civil War, the railroad transported troops and materials, playing a crucial role in the Confederacy’s victorious Battle of Natural Bridge in 1865. The Tallahassee-St. Marks Railroad was active longer than any other in Florida— operating for 146 years from 1836 to 1983.

Wagon Ride! photo by Doug Alderson

Wagon Ride! photo by Doug Alderson

The trail is a completed section of the developing 120-mile “Capital City to the Sea Loop” corridor and is a destination along the “Big Bend Scenic Byway.” The trail provides a scenic experience for over 220,000 annual visitors. Equestrian riders can enjoy the adjacent unpaved trail. An additional 4.5 miles of trail north of the Capital Circle (US 319) trailhead is maintained by the City of Tallahassee.

Approximately 1.25 miles south of the main trailhead, outdoor enthusiasts can bike or hike the Munson Hills Trail in the Apalachicola National Forest. The Apalachicola National Forest is the largest National Forest in Florida and hosts the largest red-cockaded woodpecker population in the world. The barrier-free Felburn Foundation Boundless Playground at the Wakulla Station Trailhead is designed to give children of all abilities the opportunity to learn and play freely together.

At the southern end of the trail, visitors can enjoy seafood dining and entertainment in the coastal community of St. Marks and learn about the history of the area at San Marcos de Apalachee Historical State Park.

For more information

Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail 3900 Commonwealth Blvd. MS 795 Tallahassee, Florida 32301 Phone: 850-245-2081 http://www.dep.state.fl.us/gwt...

Friends of the St. Marks Trail 1022 DeSoto Park Drive, Tallahassee, Florida 32301