I'm convinced that the Twilight Trail near Woodville was named because people liked to ride the trail after work and often finished during the twilight. That was certainly the case for me on a recent Friday. I began my 9-mile loop ride at the Lewis Park in Woodville with the sun already dipping behind tall pines.
The Twilight Trail is the newest off-road bike trail addition in this section of the Apalachicola National Forest, connecting to the 12-mile Munson Hills Trail. It is not used quite as much as Munson, partly because it doesn't have the addition of clay and other technical features, but the ride is sweet and interesting. I saw only one other rider on my adventure.
The trail traverses both young and mature longleaf forests, and it skirts around openings where former slash pine stands have been cleared and more drought tolerant longleaf pines have been planted. Most of the area of my ride had been freshly burned since this type of forest historically burned every two to four years or so and the U.S. Forest Service mimics this cycle with prescribed fire. Wiregrass was sprouting from blackened stubs and, even in winter, I spotted purple and yellow wildflowers emerging from the ash.
Sounds of gunfire are frequently heard along the southern edge of the Twilight Trail, but there is no need for alarm. It is from a nearby gun range. The ride is peaceful, especially with evening light slanting through the pines and night hawks silhouetted against the darkening sky. I brought a flashlight just in case, and I know of one rider who rides these trails at night with a headlamp, but I fittingly made it back to the park in twilight. What better way to end the work week and begin a lovely weekend.