Bicyclists, joggers, hikers, strollers, birdwatchers and horseback riders can all find enjoyable off-road experiences at the Lake Overstreet Trails in Maclay Gardens State Park. Located near I-10 on the north side of Tallahassee, the trails are easily accessible to thousands of people, highly convenient during these short days of winter.
There are two main trailheads-one in Maclay Gardens State Park and the other at the Forest Meadows Park on North Meridian Road. The Lake Overstreet Trails connect to several more miles of trails in Phipps Park off Meridian Road, so you can easily put together a day-long adventure if you wish.
The Lake Overstreet area features five miles of multi-use trails on old roads that are closed to vehicles, and three miles of dedicated off-road cycling trails that were created by the Tallahassee Mountain Bike Association. On a recent afternoon, I tried both trails and found them to be enjoyable and challenging. They wind through mature forests that feature large live oaks that make it difficult to believe that this area was once cleared for cotton farms in the nineteenth century. The trails are fairly smooth with few roots, making them beginner-friendly, but the challenge lies in how they dip in and out of deep ravines and to and from Lake Overstreet. If it is a cold day, you'll quickly warm up on the uphill climbs. Feel the burn, as the exercise gurus say.
Also, if coming from Meridian Road on the multi-use trail, it is about a two-hundred foot descent to Lake Overstreet. If you're on a bicycle, you can really get up some speed, so make sure your brakes are in good working order!
The views along Lake Overstreet are worth the trip. The lake is completely undeveloped and only a distant cell tower to the south stands above the tree-lined shores. Ducks can frequently be seen on the water and surely the lake teems with fish since no fishing is allowed.
By the end of a Lake Overstreet trail adventure, you'll wonder if you're still in Florida since the elevational changes are reminiscent of North Georgia. So, get a taste of Tallahassee's red hills and head out to Lake Overstreet!