A popular recreation area in the Apalachicola National Forest west of Tallahassee, Silver Lake sees its fair share of picnics and parkgoers on sunny weekends.
One of the nicer ways to enjoy the lake is to walk around it on the Silver Lake Trail, which leads you through the forests along its shores.
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Length: 1.1 mile loop
Fees: $5 per vehicle day use fee
Restroom: At the picnic area
Land manager: Apalachicola National Forest
Dogs are not permitted along the lakeshore. Non-motorized boats may use the lake. Swimming is at your own risk.
Follow SR 20 west from Tallahassee and look for the signs for Silver Lake Recreation Area.
From the vicinity of the restrooms at the far end of the picnic are, walk downhill towards the lakeshore.
Look for a boardwalk that follows the edge of the lake and provides views across and into the crystal clear water.
As you leave the boardwalk, the trail makes an abrupt right turn and follows the lake closely, passing an interpretive sign on how the lake formed.
At a junction with a Jeep road, turn right. Cross over a launch point for canoes and kayaks.
You reach a bench along the lake that faces the swimming area on the far side. From here the trail winds through upland forests of hardwoods and pine flatwoods.
Walk beneath the understory of oaks in this climax sandhill, past a stand of longleaf pines.
Passing the “Longleaf Pines and Fire” interpretive marker, the trail swings left to follow an arm of Silver Lake, where cypresses line the shore.
Walk by a catfaced pine – a pine trunk with a deep scar from turpentine tapping – and watch for a blue blaze that directs you to the right.
Join a path coming in from the left. It reaches a clearing along the shoreline.
As you walk under large Southern magnolias, the pitch of the land becomes more steeply sloped.
The trail continues uphill and swings to the right to become a broad path heading in a straight line towards a gap in a fence.
At 1 mile, you pass through the gap and emerge into the picnic area. The blazes end here.
Walk across the picnic area along the lakeshore to reach the parking area and complete the 1.1-mile loop.
See our photos from hiking the Silver Lake Trail
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
With ten distinct tracts surrounding Lake Talquin, a reservoir along the Ochlockonee River, this state forest provides recreation opportunities just west of Tallahassee