South Georgia and North Florida
Thomasville, known as the city of Rose’s is the second largest city in Southeast Georgia and is full of rich history, specialty shops, with Southern natural beauty surrounding the town. Next to the Thomasville Rose Garden is Cherokee Park, one of the most scenic parks Thomasville has to offer. The parks one-mile paved walking path winds its way around the lake across boardwalks and underneath an old railroad bridge providing close up encounters with ducks and geese. Along the path are pavilions which are ideal for an afternoon picnic.
Just Northeast of Thomasville is the Reed Bingham State Park which boast an adventurous lake, the Little River, and seven miles of hiking trails where one can marvel at natures beauty and quiet tranquility. The five main trails which covers just over 5.5 miles leads right through the heart of the park’s natural beauty and ecosystem. The Little River trail crosses boardwalks through the bottom lands flooded by the Little River through bald cypress, tupelos, and spruce pine. This trail Connects to the Yearling Trail which climbs steadily from the bottom lands to the forested bluff overlooking the river through pines and palmettos and ends at the Northern most part of the park where the Red Roberts Loop starts which features several boardwalks across drainage streams flowing into the Little River. Taking the Bird walk Trail back traverses through five natural communities of southern hardwoods, hickory, magnolias, and American hollies.
The Northern portion of Leon County is where Elinor Klapp-Phipps park is located which encompasses 670 acres along the shores of Lake Jackson. The park is known as Tallahassee’s most expansive and wild urban park where sinuous streams, massive tulip poplars, and ancient magnolias can be found all through the dense forest. The park’s 7.5-mile trail system is made up of three stacked loops showcasing spectacular trees of enormous sizes where each loop becomes longer in length and more difficult. The easiest and shortest is the 1.5-mile loop Coon Bottom trail. Stacked on this loop is the 1.8-mile Swamp Forest Loop which leads around the perimeter of a forested wetland where the terrain becomes hilly and through bogs over wooden boardwalks passing through a Beech-Magnolia forest. From this trail the.8-mile Creek Trail leads to the 2.5-mile Oak Hammock Loop.
On the Northern side of Tallahassee is Alfred B MaClay Gardens State Park. In 1923 Alfred bought this property for his family’s winter retreat and commenced to build a masterpiece of floral architecture, which is now on the national register of historical places. The gardens overlook Lake Hall and is the place his family entertained many prominent people over the years including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. A.75-mile stroll through the gardens along the picturesque brick walkway displays hundreds of camellias, azaleas, a walled garden, secret garden, and a reflection pool. Also, the park has about 5.5-miles of shared hiking trails in the shape of a figure eight passing through a hardwood forest of short leaf pines, loblolly’s, magnolias, dogwoods, and live oaks. The Lake Over-street Trail is the easiest which wraps around the lake which is one of Leon counties last undeveloped shorelines where native vegetation, such as water lily and pickerel weed thrive providing a natural habitat for fish, otters, alligators, and bald eagles. Whereas, the Forest Meadows Trail is a little more difficult with its gently sloping hills and ravines which are an uncommon natural feature in the Tallahassee area.
Leon County is home to two significant cultural resources, artifacts from the sites span back some 12,000 years. The earthen temple mounds are believed to have been built by the Swift Creek people and used by the surrounding communities for ceremonies. The mound at the Letchworth-Love Mounds Archaeological State Park stands at 51 feet and a short-paved walkway leads to the viewing platform. Adjacent to the mound is a short half-mile nature trail for wildlife viewing. A large plantation owned by Colonel Robert Butler is now the site of the Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park where six of the seven known earthen temple mounds are located. The two mounds which are intact and available for public viewing are situated in an open area known as a central plaza. In addition, the park has two trails, where the 1.5-mile Old Orchard loop winds through forested hills where giant trees still stand. The shorter Butler Mill Loop traverses the old plantation’s water works crossing an earthen dam used for irrigation and the site of the old grist mill.