The Longleaf trail is one of the latest singletrack additions to the J R Alford Greenway, having been opened in 2020. Leon County hadn’t given the trail an official name when it was opened to the public. However, given the longleaf pines along the trail, the locals started calling it longleaf, and the name stuck. Overall, it’s a 2.5-mile stretch of hardpacked singletrack, and although it’s technically classified as an intermediate, it wouldn’t be hard for a beginner with plenty of stamina to get through.
Accessing the Longleaf trailhead is pretty easy once you reach the main J R Alford parking area at the end of Pedrick Rd. Fortunately, the directions to get there are pretty easy from Tallahassee since you only need to head northeast on Tennessee Street into Mahan Dr. After that, turn into Pedrick Rd at the junction next to the Pedrick Pond pack and follow it to the Greenway parking lot.
The trail should be on the south end of the parking lot, although there are a couple of trailheads here, so make sure you take the right one. The trail starts with a section of hardpacked singletrack, which is a preview of what the rest of the Longleaf trail will look like.
It’s also bidirectional, so we came across other mountain bikers from the opposite direction. However, given how wide the trail is, it’s unlikely that you’ll need to stop or give way if you find yourself in a similar situation.
There are low-gradient hills that you have to climb with plenty of mounds, making it feel like a sort of rollercoaster. The downhill sections are more fun, given how flowy the trail is. Also, you have a few opportunities to catch air by going through the mounds at speed.
Notably, you’ll be riding next to the South Trail, another singletrack trail at the Greenway. However, it differs from the Longleaf trail because it has plenty of root-filled sections.
Nevertheless, you’ll also be riding fairly close to Lake Lafayette, but you won’t be able to see it while on the trail.
The longleaf pine trees provide plenty of shade while you are on the trail, so even in the summer, you should get a pretty chill ride.
When the trail was first opened, some sections left over from the construction looked like they were part of the trail but led to dead ends. Vegetation has since grown in, and the last time we were there, it was pretty easy to stay on the trail. However, the trail stays well-maintained, with the grass being mowed regularly to keep it short.
Also, the J R Alford Greenway is a natural habitat for some snake species, e.g., the diamondback rattlesnake, grey rat snake, eastern king snake, etc. While some aren’t poisonous, some are, so you should be careful if you encounter one. That said, most of the trail users barely encounter any wildlife.
Sights of interest include Lake Lafayette and Piney Z Lake, which may require you to take a detour from the trail to see them.
Although rare, some trail users encounter snakes native to the area, so watch out for them.