With the pandemic taking over our life over the last year, I’ve gotten the chance to go out and explore some of Tallahassee’s finest: the hiking trails. Hikes are such a great way to explore nature and get your mind off anything that might be bothering you at that moment. When you’re surrounded by so many trees and wildlife, you can’t help but be at peace and let your mind clear. There are so many good spots in Tally that students don’t realize are there! These trails might be a short drive away, but trust me, they are worth all the gas it takes to get there. So, here are some of the best trails I think Tallahassee has to offer.
Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park
I know you are all hitting up the Trader Joes at least once a month, so why not stop by the trail before you get your groceries? This park is less than five minutes away from the TJs! This park is HUGE. There’s a smaller trail to walk on where there’s a gorgeous fountain and view of the lake, which is great for photo ops. There’s also a big hiking trail that shows off many of the park’s trees and nature if you’re looking for more of a workout. You might even be lucky and see some horses while you’re there because the hiking trail merges with the horse trail!
Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park
I can never remember this park’s full name, so I have deemed her as “Phipps” from now on. Phipps is my favorite park to hike at in Tallahassee. It’s a bit of a drive from campus, but it’s very much worth it. With two trails to choose from at around 3.3 miles each, it takes around an hour to hike and is such a good mood booster. If you take the right trail, you get a beautiful view of the lake. If you take the left path, you find yourself navigating through the narrow forest with lots of great nature noises. It’s a trendy park to take your dogs to, so you will be seeing some cute pups! One of my best memories here is hiking around noon on a Saturday when I found myself face to face with a deer! Phipps is everything you could want in a park, which is why I try to hike there every month!
Lake Talquin State Park
Now this one is a sleeper hit. It is quite a drive out there; it takes me around 30 minutes to get there because it’s in the southwest part of Tallahassee in the middle of nowhere. Just telling you the bad news before I get to the incredible news. There are three trails on this park—left, right and middle. All three take you around the amazing nature the park has to offer while giving you a view of the gorgeous Lake Talquin in the middle of the trail. Instead of just being a dirt path, this trail makes you walk over many wooden bridges and stone paths to give you something new in a hike. The best part about this trail is the wildlife. I’ve seen deer, either running together in a pack or up close and personal. I’ve even seen some bears up close! That was a little scary, but wow, what an experience! This is a park I highly recommend and go to quite often.
Lafayette Heritage Trail
I think most of us in Tally have heard of this park once or twice. I’ve been here a couple of times, and it’s quite the park! It gets very crowded during weekend afternoons (especially when it’s cooler weather), but the views are amazing. Piney-Z lake is in the middle of the park, and you see it wherever you go. If you decide to go in the summertime, you get to hear a lot of happy frogs! There’s also a huge bridge that gives you a view of an abandoned railroad where you can take some cute pictures with you and your besties! At the end of the trail, you are led to J.R. Alford Greenway, a huge open plot of land with very peaceful vibes and another place to take great photos. All around, this park is at the top of my list!
I hope you found a couple of new hiking spots from this article, or maybe you have heard of them before and are planning to go now that you know what each park is like. Some other great parks are Miccosukee Greenway, San Luis Park, Butler Mill Trail or you can even get a good walk in at good old Cascades Park. Remember to always pack a healthy snack, sunscreen up and drink plenty of water on your trails! Happy hiking!