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Partially complete, the trail parallels US 98 and connects the Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail to the Ochlockonee Bay Trail. Two sections are complete: a 12-mile section from the Tallahassee-St. Marks Trail west to US 319 (across from Wakulla High School), and a 2.7 mile section from Tower Road to the Ochlockonee Bay Trail at Surf Road. Construction connecting these two sections is underway in 2022 and more scheduled in the future. (Map link and photos below.)
Map link... Coastal Trail
Location: Wakulla County (Crawfordville)
End Points: Segment 1 (complete): St. Marks Trail to Wakulla High School; Segment 2 (construction): Wakulla High School to Tower Road; Segment 3 (complete): Tower Road to Ochlockonee Bay Trail; Segment 4 (future): St. Marks Trail to Lighthouse Road
Mileage: 14.7 miles now complete, 25 miles total when complete
Nearby points of interest: St. Marks Lighthouse, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, Wakulla Springs, Ochlockonee River State Park, Bald Point State Park, Mashes Sands Beach
Here we follow the Coastal Trail from East to West
The paved bike trail is wide and flat, and the surface is in good condition. Road bikers will enjoy the long straightaways, wide fields of view, and typically few other bikers. It runs entirely parallel to US 98, road noise is a constant, but with a wide buffer that includes tree-lined sections further off the road. Landscaping has been added at crossings and along the trail. At the eastern end, the trail crosses US 98 a few times - flashing crossing lights are provided. (It helps that in this area, US 98 is among the least-traveled coastal highways in Florida). There are quite a few driveways and business entrances along the way, but the only "busy" road crossing is the intersection at US 98 and US 319 in Crawfordville at Wakulla High School - use the crossing signal. "CTC" blazes on the pavement point the direction. In sum, we found this to be an easy and surprisingly pleasant ride in a rural area.
The junction with the Tallahassee-St. Marks State Trail is just north of US 98. There's a small dirt parking lot and restroom where the two trails connect. The Coastal Trail proceeds west through a pleasant shaded area for about 0.2 mile before emerging roadside along US 98. In another 0.25 mile, it crosses to the south side of the road and continues roadside to the Wakulla River Bridge. A dirt parking lot here is mostly used by boaters accessing the boat ramp. T-N-T Hideaway next to the boat ramp offers kayak/canoe rentals and tours. This section of the trail also is part of the Florida National Scenic Trail.
The trail across the bridge is separated from the road by a barrier, but a sign states that bikes should be walked - good for taking in the scenic view.
About a half-mile past the bridge, the trail crosses back over to the north side of US 98. (The Florida National Scenic Trail angles away at this point.) From here, the trail runs a little further away from the roadway, weaving back and forth through shady wooded sections. Some rural road crossings in this section, Spring Creek Hwy. is the busiest. A convenience store here has restroom and snacks.
Past Spring Creek Hwy. the trail continues to weave through wooded sections and along the road, with a couple of short boardwalks over wetlands. The trail also serves as a safe biking/walking route for students, passing Wakulla Middle School and Medart Park, a recreational complex. Approaching US 319 (Crawfordville Rd.), it becomes more commercial, including two hotels. At the intersection of US 98 and US 319, Trinity Lutheran Church provides parking. The trail then crosses US 98 to Wakulla High School - depending on time of day, the road can become (relatively) busy here - use the crossing signals.
From Wakulla High School, US 98 bends to the south, with the trail continuing on the east side of US 98 past the high school playing fields. Black top has been laid on a portion, and the path plotted past that. At some point, it will cross over to the west side of US 98 to Tower Road, we'll provide more details on a future visit when this section is completed.
The completed trail resumes at Tower Road and runs on the west side of US 98. There's some shade to the north, giving way to unshaded wetlands as it approaches Ochlockonee Bay. Two long bridges cross over wetlands, with wide views of the surrounding salt marsh. At the juncture with Ochlockonee Bay Trail at Surf Road, a trailhead provides parking, picnic, and portalet.
Ochlockonee Bay Trail
Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail
Capital City to the Sea Trails - an evolving Regional Trails System
FL Panhandle Region - More trails plus Regional Overview map
Capital City to the Sea Trails - Coastal Trail (Facebook page)
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