A scope of Tallahassee’s parks

Beautiful view of Piney Z Lake from the Lafayette Heritage Trail. Photo courtesy Alltrails.com

Tallahassee is known for being the Florida state capital and housing a vibrant college community. However, most people are unaware that it’s also a center for trade and agriculture, as it is known for its parks and gardens.

The City’s Parks Recreation and Neighborhood Affairs Department constructs, maintains and enhances the physical grounds and infrastructure of the city parks. The department currently manages 89 different public city parks and greenspaces, approximately 3,455 acres in total. There are about 70 miles of trails, including over 37 miles of dedicated single track mountain bike trails.

Tallahassee’s trail system is popular with its wide variety of visitors, since it has a numerous amount of unique trails to offer. Lafayette Heritage Trail is the perfect place to explore, whether you’re a novice hiker or an experienced one. The unpaved trail path curves around the 200 acre open-water Piney Z Lake, connecting Tom Brown Park and Lafayette Heritage Park.

Nature shot off the path and woodlands from the Lafayette Heritage Trail. Photo courtesy Alltrails.com

“I love going to Lafayette Heritage Trail, because there are so many different sceneries,” says Zharia Gaillard, a local student. “It also caters to dogs as well, and I usually bring her. She enjoys the adventure as well as their doggy hydration station, which supplies water halfway through the trail.”

The trail stretches almost seven miles to offer a stunning view of the lake, woodlands and local wildlife.  There are many activity options including hiking, mountain biking, bird watching and dog walking.

Students at Florida A&M University tend to fancy The Capital Cascades Trail, mostly because of its close proximity to the campus and picturesque view.

“I love Cascades,” says Vanessa Nocent, a student at FAMU. “It was one of the first trails I visited when I came to Tallahassee and by far one of my favorites. It’s minutes away from my house and school, and it’s definitely a place to workout and hang out with friends.”

The path travels 2.7 miles, stretching from Franklin Boulevard west along FAMU Way, forming a loop around the award-winning Cascades Park. The trail is primarily used for walking, running, scooter riding, bird watching and road biking.

Scenic view from the Capital Cascades trail that wraps around Cascades Park. Photo courtesy Alltrails.com

Mountain bikers have been known to favor Magnolia Mountain Bike Trail in Tom Brown Park because of the fast, technically-challenging aspects that it has to offer. This trail is for intermediate level riders includes jumps, beams and technical features that truly test your skills.

Director of the City Parks Recreation and Neighborhood Affairs, Ashley Edwards, admits some of the unprecedented events of 2020 actually helped the park to run more efficiently.

“The virus presented many different operational challenges, but it has also been an opportunity to evaluate the way in which we conduct business on a daily basis,” Edwards said. “Many of the necessary changes actually created efficiencies that we plan on continuing once the pandemic is resolved.”

Tallahassee has proven time and time again that it’s not just a college town. From its active recreational opportunities like athletic fields and playgrounds, to passive recreational opportunities such as wildlife observation in natural areas– there is truly something for everyone to enjoy!

For more insight onwhat parks, trails and gardens the city offers, check out the interactive park map that can be found at https://www.talgov.com/gis/parks_trails/or by downloading the TallyParks App.