St. Marks Trail

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Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail

Florida's first designated state trail follows the abandoned railbed of the historic Tallahassee-St. Marks Railroad. The trail runs almost due south from Tallahassee to the town of St. Marks, which is at the confluence of the St. Marks and Wakulla rivers.

 

The Tallahassee-St. Marks Railroad was the first railroad under construction in Florida and the first in the nation to receive a federal land grant. Completed in 1837, the 20-mile line connected the territorial Capital with the Gulf port of St. Marks. Conceived and financed by leading planters and merchants, the railroad transported the prosperous cotton crop of the region for shipment to East Coast markets.

 

Initially, mules hauled open freight and passenger cars loaded with naval store and timber industry products. The rickety railbed prompted an earlier traveler to describe it as "the worst that has yet been built in the entire world." In the 1850s, the railroad was modernized and used to transport cotton. The Tallahassee-St. Marks railroad was distinguished as Florida's longest operating line, serving for 147 years. It is of rich historical significance as a pioneer enterprise that stimulated the region's commercial development and settlement.

 

In 1984, the Florida Department of Transportation purchased 16 miles of thecorridor to preserve the right-of-way. The recreational trail was constructed and is maintained by the Florida Park Service. The southern two miles of the trail has been designated a segment of the Florida National Scenic Trail, which continues on the other side of the St. Marks River to historic Port Leon and beyond. Hail a passing fisherman for a ride across the river.

The 16-mile paved St. Marks Trail follows the historic Tallahassee-St. Marks Railroad line, passes through part of the Apalachicola State Forest and terminates at the small coastal village of St. Marks. The City of Tallahassee has extended this trail approximately 5 miles to the north into Tallahassee.

 

Activities permitted on the trail include bicycling, walking, jogging, skating, dog walking and horseback riding. A paved surface is available for pedestrians and cyclists. An adjacent trail is available for horses and their riders. Horseback riding should be confined to the designated trail or shoulder areas to avoid damaging the smooth bicycling surface.

 

This site opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m. year-round.

 

A paved parking lot is located on State Road 363, just south of Tallahassee at the entrance of the trail.

Tallahassee St. Marks Brochure

Major Activities
WalkingHikingBikingMountain BikingEquestrianInline SkatingWheelchair

Trail Length/Surface: 16 miles, paved 8' wide (a 4.5 mile, paved, 12' wide St. Marks Trail extension continues north from the northern trailhead into the City of Tallahassee)

Fee: None

County: Leon, Wakulla

Nearby Towns: Tallahassee, St. Marks

Notes:
An adjacent trail is available for horses and their riders. Horseback riding should be confined to the designated equestrian trail or shoulder areas to avoid damaging the smooth bicycling surface.

Access/Directions:
Main Trailhead
From downtown Tallahassee, take Monroe Street south. It will turn into Woodville Highway (SR 363). After you pass Capital Circle (US 319), look for trailhead on right.

Contact Information:
Tallahassee-St. Marks State Trail
3900 Commonwealth Blvd. MS 795
Tallahassee, FL 32399
850-245-2052

 

 

 

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