A Tour of Tallahassee's Canopy Roads
Scenic drives define the Tallahassee area, especially its signature canopy roads where the limbs of huge moss-draped live oaks, sweet gums, hickory trees and pines provide a towering, cooling canopy over roads that were once paths traveled by native tribes. Tallahassee has nine official canopy roads offering more than 78 miles of intriguing shaded drives providing a peaceful sense of quiet adventure.
Centerville Road/Moccasin Gap Road is reached from the heart of town where Magnolia Drive ends and the shaded canopy begins. A delightful drive down several miles of the undulating road connecting pastures and fields usually includes a stop to pick up some of Bradley’s Country Store famous Bradley’s sausage. This landmark building is a must-see for visitors to Leon County. Map Of Centerville Road/Moccasin Gap Road.
In 1824 a federal surveyor laid lengths of chain through Leon County’s forests to establish the Prime Meridian for use in surveying all of Florida. This road is a result of that surveyor’s effort to go from the center of Cascades Park, straight over the hills rather than around them. Meridian Road runs from downtown Tallahassee, rarely dips or curves and has banks as high as 8 feet in places. Map Of Meridian Road.
Extending into east-northeast Leon County, this road began as a Native American footpath that led to the village of Miccosukee. British surveyors made a note of the path in 1767. By the 1850s, the road was used by 30 Leon county plantation owners to haul cotton to market. Gracious old live oaks now create a nearly nine-mile-long continuous stretch of canopy. Map Of Miccosukee Road
Old Centerville Road dates to the early 19th century, shortly after the founding of Tallahassee. The six-mile-long wagon road was part of a north-south route linking the antebellum plantations to the market and rail lines to St. Marks. The road once passed along the hamlets of Centreville and its neighboring Sunny Hill, which have long since disappeared. Old Centerville Road still retains its historical charm and character. Scattered former tenant dwellings peek out with their forest green painted siding dusted with clouds of red clay stirred up by passing motorists. Map of Old Centerville Road.
Old Bainbridge Road runs almost parallel to US 27, and along this road, Archeologists have found the remains of Native American villages, as well as a 1600s Spanish mission. It proves a scenic route to a day of antiquing in Havana, Florida. Map of Old Bainbridge Road
Located southeast of downtown Tallahassee, Old St. Augustine Road dates to the 1600s when it linked Spanish missions from Tallahassee to St. Augustine. There is now no trace of the 17th-century Franciscan mission or the Indian council house along the road, but its scenic beauty persists to this day. Old St. Augustine Road was the first highway built in Florida. It was completed in the 1820s and followed another Native American footpath, which had become the “Spanish Trail” connecting Pensacola to St. Augustine, before American settlement. Map of Old St. Augustine Road
Leon County’s six other canopy roads were described in the 19th century as “spokes in a wheel” emanating from Tallahassee, Sunny Hill Road reflects a hard clay backwoods road that linked the plantations and hamlets near the Florida-Georgia border. Antebellum planters and farmers in the Red Hills used a network of roads to haul Sea Island cotton to the Gulf ports of Magnolia, Newport and St. Marks for shipment to Northern markets and England. Today, the only remnants of the antebellum plantation culture along Sunny Hill Road are the family cemeteries of the Ponders and Manning’s. The road itself, however, with its high red clay embankments and cathedral tunnel of green that once shaded the cotton wagon driver are visual reminders of the road’s history. Sunny Hill Road has a rich history and its scenic beauty has been preserved. It joins Leon County’s other designated canopy roads as a treasured community asset. Map Of Sunny Hill Road
Pisgah Church Road is 1.2 miles long in northeastern Leon County. At the eastern end of the road is Pisgah United Methodist Church. The church was first established in a log structure in 1830. During the Seminole Wars in 1839, a patrol station at Centerville was very active in protecting white settlers from raids by Native Americans. By 1848, Centerville had a post office, dry goods store and a livery stable. Pisgah Church Road was probably built when Pisgah Church was established, but it is not documented clearly until 1883 on a map published that year. The current building was erected in 1858 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. If you fast-forward to the present, you find beautiful Pisgah Church Road with Spanish moss-laden oaks and horse pastures along both sides of the road. You will also find a paved bicycle/pedestrian trail throughout its length. Map Of Pisgah Church Road