Lake Talquin State Forest covers a little over 19,000 acres of land surrounding Lake Talquin, a reservoir lake a little over ten miles from the city of Tallahassee, Florida. The lake, which covers 8,800 acres and is nearly 15 miles long, was created by damming off the Ochlockonee River 1927. It is a popular destination for anglers as the lake contains a large number of bass, crappie, and sunfish, as well as abundant baitfish that the sportfish feed on naturally. The state forest encompasses several different ecosystems including the lake itself, which is bordered by deep ravines and rolling hills, along with wetlands, sandhills, hardwood forests, and flatwoods. Miles of trails traverse the different environments that are found at this park, including trails that are designated for mountain bikes or equestrian use. Birdwatching enthusiasts will be delighted by the variety of birds that can be found in this state forest as well, from bald eagles to sparrows. The primitive sites found at the High Bluff Campground do not have any hookups, but they are comfortably sized for smaller RVs and trailer.
The main campground for Lake Talquin State Forest, the High Bluff Campground, is slightly less than 20 miles west of the city of Tallahassee. The closest town to the campground is Midway, approximately a six-mile drive to the northeast. While the majority of the roads that lead to Lake Talquin State Forest do have some twists and turns, they should be simple to traverse for those that are driving a big rig. The turn onto Peter’s Road from High Bridge Road is generally wide enough to accommodate most rigs, but it may be easier to navigate when approaching it from the south than from the north. Peter’s Road, which leads to the campground, becomes a narrow dirt road through dense forests for several miles. The roads in the park itself are also dirt roads, and they can be somewhat rutted. Driving slowly and carefully through the woods will help keep your belongings from bouncing around inside your trailer. Plus, you'll get the opportunity to see more of the beautiful forest that surrounds Lake Talquin.
There are 30 primitive back-in sites that are suitable for RV and trailer camping. Each with comes equipped with a fire ring, a hibachi style grill, and a picnic table, but no hookups. Generators, however, are allowed when staying at High Bluff Campground. The individual campsites are fairly small and close together compared with many other campgrounds. Most of them are not situated to accommodate rigs bigger than 23 feet in length. There are also two pit toilets on the grounds. There is a wonderful fishing pier that protrudes out over the lake just a few steps from the campgrounds, and a well-maintained boat ramp for launching canoes, kayaks, or powerboats. The campsites are suitable for horse campers as well, provided you can either tie out your horse, or you bring your own portable corral. Companion animals are also welcome at the High Bluff Campgrounds but must be leashed or contained at all times.
There are several hiking trails and nature walks that meander through the many diverse ecosystems that can be found in the Lake Talquin State Forest. The Terry L. Rhodes Trail System is comprised of several clearly marked trails ranging from an easy walk on a paved loop to a more challenging trek with steep inclines and narrow footing in some areas. There are several additional three- to five-mile trails in the Fort Braden Tract of Lake Talquin State Forest, two of which are part of the Florida State Forests Trailwalker Program.
Be sure to pack your camera in your campervan when you go to visit Lake Talquin State Forest. There are plenty of opportunities to snap pictures of the scenic beauty of the lake, as well as the rolling hills and dramatic ravines that surround it. The ecosystems in Lake Talquin State Forest serve as a home to many wild animals that make great subjects for nature photography, including white-tailed deer, quail, bobcats, fox squirrels, and red-shouldered hawks. Photographers who are patient and lucky may even be able to snap photos of bald eagles soaring above or of gopher tortoises, a threatened species, moseying through the forest.
Mountain and dirt biking enthusiasts will want to be sure to bring their bicycle and helmets along when they visit Lake Talquin State Park in a camper. The Line’s Tract Off-road Bicycle Trail travels through several types of terrain, including hardwood forests, floodplains, and pine flatwoods, providing a great opportunity to experience the forest in a different way. The trail is considered a moderate ride and can be ridden by novice riders if they reduce their speed somewhat. Be aware of trail conditions and bring along bug spray and plenty of fresh water for your adventure.
Lake Talquin is a popular spot for both local and visiting anglers. There are several varieties of sport fish available in the waters of Lake Talquin, including bass, black crappie, and redear sunfish. There is also a large population of natural baitfish that can be obtained here, so you don’t have to bring much in the way of bait in your Airstream to have a successful fishing experience. Shore fishing is respectable and there is a long dock that extends out into the lake as well, but fishing by boat tends to be more lucrative on Lake Talquin.
You won’t want to forget your birding kit if you are parking your rig in Lake Talquin State Forest. There is an astounding number of bird species present on the lake and throughout the forests that surround it. Egrets, herons, common loons, and horned grebes can be found on the lake, along with several varieties of duck. Numerous birds inhabit the forests as well, or migrate through the area, including wild turkeys, hawks, flycatchers, nuthatches and several varieties of sparrow.
There are several designated equestrian trails that traverse the State Forest. While horses are not allowed on the hiking and biking trails in the Bear Creek Tract, they are welcome on the open roads in the forest. There are also two equestrian loops in the Fort Braden Tract that are around five to six miles in length, one of which is designated as an official Trailtrotter Trail. All horses must have proof of a negative Coggins test and riders under the age of 16 must wear a helmet at all times on state lands.