Tallahassee To St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail
It is fitting that the 16 mile paved trail connecting Tallahassee to St. Marks would be Florida’s First State Rail-Trail. After all, the popular recreational trail follows the abandoned rail bed of Florida’s first and longest operating rail line. The Tallahassee to St. Marks Railroad completed in early 1836, was initially built for transport of valuable cotton crops from the Red Hills Region to ports on the St. Marks River for export directly to Europe and other East Coast markets. At one time, the railroad carried over 50,000 tons of cotton a year to the ports for shipment. In the beginning the freight and passenger cars were drawn by mule and later by steam locomotive when the railroad was modernized in 1850. Regular transport of goods, primarily cotton, turpentine and timber contributed significantly to the commercial development and settlement of this area. During the Civil War, the railroad was important in moving troops and materials. From the beginning to its end in 1983, the railroad operated for 147 years and played a prominent role in shaping the early history of this region.
The attractive corridor of the trail passes underneath towering stands of longleaf pine as it runs through part of the Apalachicola National Forest, past quiet rural communities with picnic and rest areas, a park and playground. The main trailhead begins just south of Capital Circle southeast and ends at the St. Marks River Trailhead in the historic waterfront community of St. Marks. The trail accommodates cyclists, hikers, joggers and skaters. Dogs on a leash are permitted. There is a connecting off road bike trail. An adjacent trail is available for equestrians. The trail received a facelift in 2001 when it was widened from 8 to 12 feet.
Access points: Main Trailhead, Wakulla Station Trailhead, St. Marks River Trailhead.
Parking on State Road 363 just south of Tallahassee at entrance to the trail. Restrooms and potable water available. Helmets required by Florida law for cyclists under the age of 16.
Hours & Details
Open sunrise to sunset, year round
Biking & Hiking
History & Culture
- (850) 245-2052