At Buck Lake and Baum Road, there is a new county park. The 755-acre site of the St. Marks Headwaters Greenway has a rich history, going back to the local Native Americans. The area was used for agriculture, hunting and gathering. Later, European settlers found the area favorable for crop production, timber, and the raising of livestock. Now, it is open for the public to enjoy for: hiking/walking (leashed dogs are welcome), trail running, biking, and horseback riding. There is great parking on-site, and a bathroom to boot! The Greenway includes roughly 5,000 ft of the St. Marks River, The Copeland Sink, a fully hydrologically functioning sinkhole, is also on the Greenway property. Currently, there is only one entrance on Baum Road, which provides access to nearly 3 miles of cut trails through 160 acres of the greenway. But, Leon County is currently building another access point on Buck Lake Road, which will open an additional 426 acres.
What we liked about the hike the most was the wide cut trails that could accommodate larger groups of walkers, multiple benches where you could rest and/or watch birds from, and that much of the trail was in the shade. What we didn’t like was: the trail had no path markings to help guide your way, the trail has not been walked on and/or established long enough to have a basic footpath that has less growth, and the massive number of mosquitos. Though the mosquitos could have been the result of all the rain we have received this summer. If you remember to put on your bug-spray or wear Insect Shield clothing, you will not have any issues.
Although the trail was easy to follow, with no trail signs, we never found ourselves at the headwaters of the St. Marks River, which was disappointing. This may have been the result of the under development of the greenway and may change as they add the additional 426 acres with the Buck Lake Road access or we simply missed the path to the river. What was interesting about the hike was that there was a steady breeze the entire hike. The wind moves though the property well at mid-day even though the forecast for our hike called for very little wind.
Overall Rating: 3/5, but we see a lot of potential as the park continues to develop.
Ensure that you have adequate sun and bug protection so that you are able to concentrate on the beauty of your surroundings!