Stepping back through five centuries of history, the San Marcos de Apalache Interpretive Trail gives an overview of this significant coastal historic site.
An interpretive brochure coded to the posts along the walk is available inside the museum.
While there is a charge to visit the museum, history buffs will appreciate learning the complex story of the five flags that have flown over this peninsula.
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Location: St. Marks
Length: 0.6 mile loop
Trailhead: 30.152600, -84.210300
Address: 148 Old Fort Rd, St. Marks FL 32355
Fees: Free. $2 per person charge to visit the museum
Restroom: at the museum
Land manager: Florida State Parks
Open Thu-Mon 9-5, except major holidays.
From Tallahassee, drive south on Woodville Hwy (SR 363) for 20 miles to St. Marks. Once you’ve reached the restaurants and marina, follow the road around along the St. Marks River, crossing in front of the end of the Tallahassee-St. Marks Trail and the water treatment plant, and stay with it through the marshes. A sign points left onto Old Fort Rd and the state park is at the end of the road adjoining the boat ramp.
Stepping back through five centuries of history, the trail through this significant archaeological site offers a cool breeze off the Wakulla River as you hike.
Near the north end of the park is the former infirmary and military cemetery, from the era when living in Florida meant exposure to yellow fever and malaria.
Circling the museum, pause to see the cistern at the base of the old foundation that the museum is built upon.
Walking along the Wakulla River, take note of the exposed rock walls that were a part of the fortress.
At one stop along the walk, an interpretive sign points out the location of the original wooden stockade built in 1679.
A spur of the interpretive trail leads out to the point where the rivers meet. At high tide this piece of trail may flood.
Blue flag iris appear in the marshes in springtime. The rocky promontory at the end is where the St. Marks and Wakulla Rivers meet.
An interpretive sign calls this “Luther Tucker Point” in honor of a state senator who served between 1948 and 1964 and helped establish this park.
The tall structure that looks like a temple mound is actually an earthworks built during the Civil War by Confederate soldiers.
It is as large as it is because it was built not just as a lookout over the confluence of rivers, but also to protect their munitions.
Looping back around to the museum, the trail ends there.
See our photos of San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Stretching across 70,000 acres in Florida’s Big Bend, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge protects one of Florida’s longest wild shorelines, more than 43 miles in three counties.