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Just south of downtown Tallahassee, near Florida State and Florida A&M Universities, the Capital Cascades Trail runs for 2.7 miles from the northern end of the Tallahassee-St. Marks State Trail through Cascades Park and ending at E. Tennessee Street. The Capital Cascades Trail is a key connector in the emerging "Capital City to the Sea Regional Trails" network, providing the final off-street biking link between Tallahassee and the Universities to coastal areas in the south. Cascades Park is worth a visit. (Map link and photos below.)
Map link... Capital Cascades Trail
Location: Tallahassee (Leon County)
End Points: Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail to E. Tennessee St.
Parking: See locations and rules here.
Mileage: 2.25 miles, more within Cascades Park
Nearby points of interest: Florida State Capital, Florida State University, Florida A&M University
Nicely landscaped with a wide road buffer, it's an easy bike ride. Developed along with FAMU Way, the trail is a safe, off-street, east-west transportation corridor, helping to make Cascades Park an even more vibrant recreational area. There are multiple parking options, some paid, some time-restricted (see link above). Additional parking will be available at the new trailhead under construction at the Tallahassee-St. Marks/Capital Cascades Trail juncture. From that point, a future trail extension will eventually link to Lake Henrietta. Tallahassee and Leon County have a joint Transportation District Plan in place, and as part of the plan - kudos for the wonderful job at Cascades Park and the Capital Cascades Trail.
From the roundabout where the Tallahassee-St. Marks State Trail ends, the Capital Cascades Trail runs on the north side of FAMU Way. The first 0.2 mile to Eugenia St. runs between FAMU Way and a railroad track, then they diverge. The trail passes the developing Railroad Square Art District (an old warehouse area now housing art galleries and shops) and the Railroad Square Playground. The trail runs under Bronough and Duval Streets - this area, dubbed "Under the Over," has been developed into a plaza used for events and local gathering space with benches along a 5-acre stormwater retention pond.
Capital Cascades Crossing spans the area from S. Adams St. to S. Gadsden St. After crossing S. Adams, the 10x30-foot TLH Statue greets you. It represents community pride, with "TLH" the airport code for Tallahassee (also "Talent Lives Here"). A Capital Cascades Crossing column includes a trail counter - on this day so far 71 cyclists and 28 pedestrians. The centerpiece is the multi-use bike/pedestrian bridge over Monroe St. that connects the FAMU Way section of the trail to the Cascades Park section. The design features white canopies (an interpretation of Tallahassee's canopy roads). The bridge is totally solar powered, with color-changing LED lights. From the bridge, the trail runs to S. Gadsden St. - turn north to cross the railroad track and enter Cascades Park.
After crossing the railroad track is an entry point to Cascades Park. Jump off here onto Cascades Park trails (more below), or continue on the Capital Cascades Trail along Suwannee St. The trail passes The Edison restaurant (former electric building), Amphitheater, playground, and Korean War Memorial, plus several parking areas. It cuts away from the road to run between Smokey Hollow Pond and a parking area, then crosses E. Lafayette St. We ended our ride here with a view of the underpass at US 27 (Apalachee Pkwy.). The trail proceeds another 0.5 mile along S. Franklin Blvd. and ends at E. Tennessee St.
25-acre Cascades Park is a gem. Once a brownfield site, it's been redeveloped into an urban park that has activities for most everyone... over 2 miles of multi-use trails, restrooms, benches, picnic areas, 3000-seat amphitheater, Discovery Playground, interactive water fountain, community gathering and event areas, a restaurant, public art, and historical exhibits. It's the site of the State Prime Meridian Marker - originally set in 1824, it's the beginning point for all land surveys in the state of Florida. The Edison restaurant is located in the historic city electric building. The park also serves as a stormwater management system to store and filter runoff. It's designed to flood, sidewalks are slanted to drain the water into the park's ponds and an underground culvert.
Historic Railroad State Trail
Capital City to the Sea Trails - an evolving Regional Trails System
FL Panhandle Region - More trails plus Regional Overview map
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