LAFAYETTE HERITAGE TRAIL PARK
Lafayette Heritage trail Park is bounded on the north by the Lake Lafayette system which stretches from Weems Road to Chaires Cross Road. Originally this system was a wet prairie, much like Gainesville's Paine's Prairie. It filled during heavy rains, and then drained through sinkholes into the Florida Aquifer. Over hundreds of years, 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 which were constructed around 1950 divided the lake into three sections. Upper Lafayette continues to be a wet pririe, Piney Z Lake is a 200 acre open water lake, and Lower Lafayette resembles a cypress-covered Louisiana bayou.
The park consists of 795 acres. The largest portion, formerly part of the Piney Z Plantation, was acquired from Grace Dansby in 1995. A second parcel was purchased from B. Block in 1996. Piney Z Lake is cooperatively managed by the City of Tallahassee and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The park has places to fish (fishing fingers), and an ADA ramp, hike, cycle, run, or just sit and reflect. It is attached to Tom Brown Park through the trails leading from the restroom facilites area. There is a small playground, picnic shelters, drinking fountains, floating docks, hand-launch-only boat ramp, trailhead with bike wash, and outdoor showe.
The park has three types of trails: shared-use (hiking, running, walking, leisurely biking, and exercising leashed dogs.) Mountain Bike Trails for mountain biking and trail running Lafayette Passage Paddling Trail used for canoeing and kayaking, which is a great way to explore the lakes up close. A short, easy portage from Piney Z Lake into Lower Lake Lafayette is available at the dam. It is a 6 mile roundtrip to the western end of the lake and back. Check the Parks section at www.talgov.com to view a video of the trail. Also check current paddle trail conditions to be sure all of the trail is navigable before you launch.
The Cadillac Mountain Bike Trail is considered an intermediate skill level trail, having some sections that are expert level. The Loblolly Trail is an optional route offered along the West Cadillac trail. It is a beginner level mountain bike trail.