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The Capital Cascades Trail shows community at its best, offering plenty of sights, sounds and activities along its route through the residential and commercial areas and parks of southern Tallahassee. The linear park is stitched through the fabric of the city, stretching from Franklin Boulevard west along FAMU Way. The trail is being constructed in tandem with the extension of FAMU Way, a multi-year roadway project meant to enhance mobility and improve safety for motorized and non-motorized travelers alike. The projects also combine conventional drainage and green infrastructure to help combat flooding in the area.
The Franklin Boulevard segment was the first to be constructed and takes one through tranquil suburban neighborhoods south into Cascades Park. As one travels south through the park, the Korean War Memorial can be seen on your right, with the Florida Department of Transportation building on the left. Like the trail itself, the park serves multiple purposes: it is a great recreation space for residents and visitors, with amenities ranging from an amphitheater, to an interactive fountain, and a children’s playzone are also present in the park. But it’s also for stormwater management, with facilities for slowing down, filtering and storing runoff, and even being designed to flood during major storm events. There are 2.5 miles of trails criss-crossing and looping around the park. The Capital Cascades Trail traces the L-shape of the park along its eastern edge, parallel to Suwanee Street.
Follow the trail out of the park and onto Gaines Street. Heading west, the white-canopied Capital Cascades Crossing bridge takes pedestrians and cyclists over Monroe Street. The distinctive design is suggestive of Tallahassee’s famous canopy roads. Stop and take a selfie at the 10-foot tall steel and cypress TLH art installation near Andams Street to show your Tallahassee pride. A plaza and gathering space, “Under the Over”, activates the space beneath Duval St./ Brounough St. Terraced steps lead to the edge of the tranquil 5-acre stormwater pond. Additional seating facing the water is available in form of benches interspersed at various points along the trail.
The trail follows the newly constructed segments of FAMU Way westwards. The Railroad Square Playground (located at 1203 FAMU Way) is sure to be a delight for little ones with lots of room to run, climb and swing. The trail currently ends at Stearns Street and a connection to the Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail. All in all, the trail travels 2.7 miles, forming a lushly-landscaped continuous path away from vehicle traffic that connects Leon High School on the east end to Florida A&M University.
Parking is available in Cascades Park (1001 S Gadsden Street). See the Cascades Park website for parking locations and restrictions on the site.
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