Construction for the Palatka to St. Augustine State Trail began in 2004 with the vision of connecting Florida’s urban centers to large conservation areas and rural communities. Over the course of the next 15 years, the 19-mile trail would be completed in segments, with the final segment completed in 2018.
As a part of the effort by The Rails to Trails Conservancy to create multipurpose public paths from former railroad corridors, the trail was constructed along an abandoned railroad right-of-way.
Formally known as the East Coast Railway, the line was created in the late 19th century during an effort by Henry Flagler to develop infrastructure and transportation facilities in order to support his hotels in St. Augustine. The outlaying farming communities of Hastings and Armstrong were a local source of vegetables and produce for Flagler’s burgeoning hotel business, and the railway provided the mode of transportation for these goods.
When the railroad right-of-way was abandoned, the Florida Department of Transportation took the opportunity to purchase the property with the goal of developing it into what it is today.