Encompassing nearly 20,000 acres of public land west of Tallahassee, Lake Talquin State Forest protects upland areas along its namesake lake.
In 1927, a new dam and hydroelectric plant caused the valley formed by the Ochlockonee River to be flooded, creating Lake Talquin.
The name is a contraction of the cities it lies between – Tallahassee and Quincy.
Since the 1970s, the state of Florida has acquired land along the edges of the lake. One piece purchased from Florida Power became Lake Talquin State Park.
The remainder make up the ten tracts of Lake Talquin State Forest.
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Address: 865 Geddie Rd, Tallahassee FL 32304-8671
Fees: $2 per person day use fee expected at most entry points. Annual pass available.
Restrooms: Varies, but often available at trailheads where a fee is charged.
Land manager: Florida Forestry Service
Leashed dogs welcome. Where applicable, day use fees are payable at a self-pay station at the trailhead.
Allowed uses varies by tract. There are primitive backcountry campsites, a dedicated off-road bicycle area, forest roads that can be ridden or hiked, and two locations with boat ramps.
Primitive campsites can be reserved in advance. Fee is $10 per site, up to 5 people.
The forest headquarters is along Geddie Rd, 1 mile north of SR 20 at Silver Lake and 0.8 mile south of US 90 in Ochlockonee. The forest roads of the Highway 20 Tract, also called the Talquin Wildlife Management Area, can be accessed directly across Geddie Rd from the headquarters parking area.
Please see trailhead directions for other locations below.
About the Forest
While many of the tracts are former pine plantations, some encompass some outstanding bluffs and ravines where certain rare species of plants thrive.
The Bear Creek Tract is home to an outdoor education center at the Bear Creek Educational Forest, including an arboretum of Florida trees and shrubs.
Lake Talquin Access
The easiest access to Lake Talquin for boaters and paddlers is provided from the Bloxham Tract right off SR 20 at Bloxham, just west of the Bloxham Cutoff and east of the dam.
Boaters can also reach a ramp in the Joe Budd Tract near Midway at the end of High Bluff Landing Rd.
Anglers are welcome to cast a line off the shore here. A picnic shelter and primitive tenting area are provided.
Anglers can also walk in to the lake along the Central Loop and West Loop on the Fort Braden Tract. Plan for a 2.6 to 3.3-mile round-trip along rugged terrain to the lakeshore. Primitive lakeside campsites available at both locations.
Paddlers are welcome to use any of the lakeside campsites. Reserve your site in advance, as pre-payment is required.
Off SR 20, the Fort Braden Tract offers up to 9 miles of hiking in three loop trails created and maintained by the Apalachee Chapter of the Florida Trail Association.
The Bear Creek Tract south of Quincy along SR 267 offers some of the most rugged hiking in the region, with steephead ravines a central features of the Ravine Trail and Bear Creek Trail.
The Living Forest Trail, a paved accessible trail with “talking trees” along it, is a 3/4 mile linear trail that provides a gateway to the more rugged trails of the Bear Creek Tract.
In addition to these two popular locations with developed trails, hikers are welcome to ramble the forest roads in any of the other tracts.
Hikers may walk in to the group campsite on the Lines Tract but should otherwise avoid hiking on the singletrack used by off-road cyclists in this area.
An accessible trail at the Bear Creek Tract, this short but educational trail offers “talking trees” for a unique learning experience in a Florida forest.
Part of the Terry Rhodes Trail System, the Ravine Trail at the Bear Creek Tract of Lake Talquin State Forest clings to the edges of a large steephead ravine
The Lines Tract is the go-to destination for off-road cycling in Lake Talquin State Forest.
There are two loops: the 6 mile Talquin Loop and the 4.5 mile Longleaf Loop. It can take up to two hours to ride both loops.
Expect some tight turns and natural obstacles like logs and low clearances under branches.
Cyclists may also ride any of the forest roads in the various tracts, with the Highway 20 Tract one of the easier ones to access because of its proximity to forest headquarters.
On the Fort Braden Tract, equestrians can access a dedicated double-loop trail for riding through some very hilly terrain above Lake Talquin.
Ride either 4.8 miles or 5 miles, or the perimeter of both loops for 8.7 miles of hilly terrain with water crossings.
These loops are part of the Florida State Forest Trailtrotter Program. Riders are also welcome on the forest roads of the Highway 20 Tract.
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
A popular recreation area in the Apalachicola National Forest west of Tallahassee, Silver Lake is looped by a nature trail that provides scenic views of the lake