Lafayette Heritage Trail Park
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About the Park
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. 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 trailhead and bike wash, a small playground, and restroom. Drinking water is provided at the trailhead and at the playground.
The largest parcel, formerly part of the Piney Z Plantation, was acquired from Grace Dansby in December 1995. A second parcel was purchased from Byron Block in June of 1996 for a total of 795.14 acres. Funding for the acquisition of this Park was provided by the City of Tallahassee and the Florida Communities Trust using Florida Forever Funds. The total cost of acquisition was $3,562,566.90. Piney Z Lake is cooperatively managed by the City of Tallahassee and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
Lafayette Heritage Trail Park Map
This park offers a small playground, 3 picnic shelters, parking, restrooms, drinking fountains, various trails, universally accessible fishing pier, floating docks, hand-launch-only boat ramp, wildlife viewing, trailhead with bike wash, and outdoor shower.
Adjacent and Nearby Facilities
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. Two Leon County parks, the J. R. Alford Greenway and Apalachee Regional Park, are close by. To the east the L. Kirk Edwards Wildlife Management Area is managed by FWC. Combined, these open spaces create a regional greenway consisting of 3,900 acres.
Types of Trails
Within the Park are the Cadillac Mountain Bike Trail, a Shared Use Trail, and a Paddling Trail.
- Shared-Use Trails (hiking, running, walking, leisurely biking, exercising leashed dogs)
- Mountain Bike Trails (mountain biking and trail running)
- Lafayette Passage Paddling Trail (canoe and kayak)
The Cadillac Mountain Bike Trail is an overall intermediate skill level trail with sections that are expert level. Beginners can use options where provided to avoid expert sections. More Difficult sections are marked with a Black Diamond, or Double Black Diamond Symbol, and Intermediate Skill Areas are marked with a Blue Square Symbol. The trail is broken into two parts: the West Cadillac trail (1.35 mi) and the East Cadillac trail (2.44 mi). The trailhead and parking are located where these trail sections meet. The Loblolly trail is an optional route offered along the West Cadillac trail. It is a beginner level mountain bike trail totaling .9 miles.
The Shared Use Trail is a beginner level trail designed for various users including hikers, joggers, strollers, cyclists, etc. The overall distance of the trail is 2.95 miles. Separately, the West section of this trail is 1.7 miles and the East section is 1.25 miles.
The Lafayette Passage Paddling Trail is a great place to explore the lakes up close. Fish for bass and bream, watch a variety of wading birds, hawks, ospreys and an occasional Bald Eagle or just enjoy a leisurely paddle through open water. More adventurous paddlers can make a short, easy portage from Piney Z Lake into Lower Lake Lafayette to begin a 6 mile round-trip to the western end of the lake and back, or take several short cut trails to create trips of various lengths and durations. View large cypress trees, fall wildflowers, a variety of birds and an occasional alligator along this section of the trail. Dense vegetation in some sections gives a feeling of being in the wilderness but well placed trail markers will keep any traveler on course. PRNA staff in cooperation with Florida FWC maintains the trail. In some seasons water levels or vegetation can make paddling more challenging in Lower Lafayette, check the Parks section of Talgov.com to view a video of the trail and check current paddle trail conditions to be sure all of the trail is navigable before your trip. Be safe and prepared, wear a life vest, use sunscreen, and pack plenty of water.
Use trail marker numbers to report problems or to make suggestions. You will find Green Markers on the Shared Use Trail and Blue Markers on Bike Trails. Take note of the nearest marker number and call (850) 891-3866 or 933-6631. In an emergency call 911.
Trails in this Park are part of the natural environment. Uneven and/or slippery surfaces, fallen branches, insects and other wildlife, irritating plants, and other hazards may be present. Use caution and report problems to the City of Tallahassee, Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Affairs Department at (850) 891-3866.
Trail and Trail Section Difficulty Ratings
||Easy These routes are appropriate for novice through advanced users. They generally follow obvious, well-marked trails and roads. Grades are gentle, and few obstacles will be encountered.
||More Difficult These routes are appropriate for intermediate through advanced users. Terrain may be steeper with some obstacles, and steep drops, and technical trail features may be encountered. Beginners may need to dismount in some areas or use ride around options to avoid technical features.
||Most Difficult These routes are recommended for advanced to expert users only. Terrain is steep, and obstacles require considerable skill. Novice Riders may need to dismount in some areas.
||Expert Only Double Black Diamonds mark expert only features that require advanced skills and should not be attempted by unskilled riders.
Rules of the Trails
The way we ride today shapes mountain bike trail access tomorrow.
Ride On Open Trails Only. Respect trail closures and private property
Leave No Trace. Practice low-impact cycling. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage. When the trail bed is wet and soft, consider other riding options. Stay on existing trails and do not create new ones. Don't cut switchbacks. Be sure to pack out at least as much as you pack in.
Ride In Control. Expect the unexpected and be prepared.
Always Yield the Trail. Let your fellow trail users know you're coming! A friendly greeting or bell is considerate and works well; don't startle others. Yielding means slow down, establish communication, be prepared to stop if necessary, and pass safely.
Plan Ahead. Know your equipment, your ability, and the area in which you are riding and prepare accordingly. Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear.
Do not pick or dig up plants.
Report trail concerns to the Parks Division (850) 891-5340 or 933-6631.
Sunrise to Sunset
All provisions of the City Code, Chapter 13 are enforced.
Inmate Work Crews
Special thanks to Leon County Sherriff's Department for providing supervised work camp inmates to help maintain this park.
Piney Z Lake Fish Management Area
Check out the latest update on the fish population - and what we are doing about it! (PDF)
F.A.C. 68-A-20.005 (1) (i) and 68 A-2004
Fishing License Required, Including Cane Poles
Hand Launched Watercraft Only, No Gasoline Motors, No Motor Vehicles on Dams, Spillways, or Fishing Fingers. Use or Possession of Minnow Seines or Cast Nets Prohibited.
- No Person Shall Kill or Possess any Black Bass
- No Person shall take in any one day
- more than 20 Pan fish in the Aggregate
- more than 6 Channel Catfish