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  • Writer's pictureBrian Childress

Lafayette Heritage Trail Park & Tom Brown Park - Tallahassee, Florida

Lafayette Heritage Trail Park, along with adjacent Tom Brown Park, is bounded on the north by the Lake Lafayette system, stretching from Weems Road to Chaires Cross Road in Tallahassee, Florida. Originally this system was a wet prairie, much like Gainesville's Paine's Prairie, filling during heavy rains then draining through sinkholes into the Floridan Aquifer. Over millennia, when the lakes drained, Native Americans hunted and gathered flint for tools and weapons on the lake bottom. In historic times farmers grazed cattle and planted crops in the fertile lake soil. Two dams constructed around 1950 divided the lake into three sections, Upper Lafayette continues to be a wet prairie, Piney Z Lake is a 200 acre open water lake, and Lower Lafayette resembles a cypress-covered Louisiana bayou.

The park offers visitors a place to fish, exercise, recreate, bicycle, run, walk or just sit and reflect. There are many scenic views and opportunities to view the wildlife. The park entrance is found at the east end of Heritage Park Blvd. in the Piney Z Plantation subdivision. There you will find a small parking lot with 3 picnic shelters, a trail head and bike wash, a small playground, and restroom. Drinking water is provided at the trail head and at the playground. There are also universally accessible fishing pier, floating docks, and a hand-launch-only boat ramp.

Tom Brown Park, the City's most active regional park, is located just to the west of the park. Tom Brown Park offers 2 playgrounds, 24 holes of disc golf, tennis, baseball, softball, basketball, handball, BMX track, radio control track, and various trails for hiking, biking and jogging.

Wildlife to expect include turtles, alligators, and native birds.

Our experience: we chose this location for the hiking trails and in addition to the Lafayette Heritage Trail, there are other nearby hiking and biking trails. The parks and trails were very clean and well shaded from the North Florida/South Georgia heat. The city, county, and state have done a very good job on this large facility and invested money into nice bike and pedestrian bridges. There is one very large covered bridge which allows you to look down on the large lake and see the wildlife in the area. The various trails should be considered easy to moderate difficulty and can exceed 7 miles. This is a good location for hikers, bikers, and families for a day-trip.

Hours of Operation: Sunrise to Sunset

Park location and contact:

4900 Heritage Park Blvd.

Tallahassee, FL 32311

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