Trail Roots and the New Trailahassee Website

by: Doug Alderson, Outdoor & Nature Expert

The Tallahassee area has deep trail roots, stemming from Paleo peoples who came to the Big Bend region 12,000 to 15,000 years ago, following paths made by mammoth, mastodon and other grazing animals. Apalachee Indians expanded on those trails, establishing wide footpaths to the coast that Spanish observers said resembled roads. Seminoles and homesteaders followed, expanding on those trails, and now hikers, bicyclists, equestrians and paddlers follow some of those same ancient paths, utilizing them for both recreation and alternative transportation.

In celebration of our area trails, Visit Tallahassee has just released the new Trailahassee website. You can search an incredible variety of trails in the Tallahassee area by activity, surface and skill level. Plus, there are featured trails, blogs and a guide to outfitters and associations. Check it out:

Some of my favorite trails are featured on the website. If I'm in the mood for hiking or biking hilly terrain, I'll visit the Ft. Braden State Forest Trails, Phipps Park, Lake Overstreet, Lafayette Heritage Park or Munson Hills. A straight shot to the coast can be experienced on the paved Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Park. And several other paved multi-use paths can be found throughout the city. There are even plans for a Capital City to Sea Loop trail that will cover about 120 miles when complete. The project is gaining steam. Political decision-makers are realizing the incredible draw and associated economic benefits of long-distance trails, as well as having a variety of short trails throughout the region.

Even though I don't have access to horses to experience that mode of recreation, several popular equestrian trails are available in the Tallahassee area as well. Favorites among equestrians include the Ft. Braden Trails, Phipps Park and the county greenways. An equestrian trail also parallels the Tallahassee-St. Marks Trail.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't mention paddling trails, those ancient waterways that flow seaward or follow the Gulf shorelines. Spring-fed streams include the Wakulla, St. Marks and Wacissa rivers, while our tannin-tinted red-black waters include the Sopchoppy, Aucilla and Ochlockonee. Multi-day river trips are especially suitable on the lower Ochlockonee and Apalachicola rivers.

The beauty of the Trailahassee website is that I don't need to tell readers where all of these trails are located and how to access them. Just log onto the website and find out for yourself. But beware! Following trails is fun and can be a bit addicting, and the new website provides numerous options from which to choose.


Doug Alderson. Outdoor & Nature Expert from Tallahassee, FL Author:

Doug Alderson

Outdoor & Nature Expert


Doug Alderson is the author of several books, including Waters Less Traveled: Exploring Florida's Big Bend Coast (University Press of Florida 2005), The Vision Keepers: Walking for Native Americans and the Earth (Quest Books 2007), New Dawn for the Kissimmee River: Orlando to Okeechobee by Kayak (University Press of Florida, 2009), Encounters with Florida's Endangered Wildlife (University Press of Florida, 2010), and his newest book, Wild Florida Waters: Exploring the Sunshine State by Kayak and Canoe (Earthways Press, 2011). Additionally, his articles and photographs have been featured in magazines such as Sea Kayaker, Coast and Kayak, Wildlife Conservation, American Forests, Sierra, Mother Earth News and Shaman's Drum. He has won several state and national awards for his books and magazine features. Doug also works as the paddling trails coordinator for the Florida Office of Greenways and Trails.

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