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Latest update: Feb. 2018

Top 10... Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail

Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail (a linear state park) stretches 15 miles from the City of Gainesville's Boulware Springs Park through Payne's Prairie Preserve State Park and Lochloosa Wildlife Management Area, and ends in the small town of Hawthorne. Wooded and quiet, with several hiking trails and paved spurs to scenic overlooks, there are even are some winding hills to challenge you!  A link connects to Downtown Gainesville, the Waldo Road Greenway and Depot Avenue Rail-Trail for an additional 6.5 miles of biking. (Detailed map and photos below.)

Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail

Mileage: 15 miles (spurs add more)
Surface: Asphalt, 10'; narrows to 8' east of Lochloosa Trailhad
Location: Alachua County (Gainesville)
Trailheads: Boulware Springs City Park at 3400 SE 15th Street in Gainesville; CR 234 at Rochelle; 7902 SE 200th Drive, off of CR 2082 west of Hawthorne; 2182 SE 71st Avenue in Hawthorne. (See map)
Nearby points of interest: Payne's Prairie Preserve State Park, University of Florida, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park (Cross Creek)

Bike Shops/Rentals

Schwinn Shop (Gainesville)

Gator Cycle (Gainesville)

Support and Advocacy

Friends of Payne's Prairie

GAINESVILLE-HAWTHORNE STATE TRAIL... Comments and Photos

Western Segment

This section contains the shadiest parts of the trail and little road noise. A very short portion runs adjacent to busy Rte 20, but the trail soon veers south along seldom-used CR 2082 (the old Hawthorne road), a swampy area and one of the prettiest sections of the trail.

Gainesville Trailhead at Boulware Springs to La Chua Trail

Parking and facilities are located at the former Water Works Building at Boulware Springs - Gainesville's original water supply. Scenic ride under canopy includes links to Sweetwater Overlook and La Chua Trail.


La Chua Trail

A scenic trail at Payne's Prairie - pedestrian/hiking only. 3 miles round-trip, but worth the hike to view wildlife including birds, alligators, wild horses and bison!


The Hammock and Big Sink, Alachua Lake Overlook spur

Sharp curves and steep hills in this area are a more challenging ride. Link to Alachua Lake Overlook - 0.7 mi. spur to overlook at Payne's Prairie. Also visit us here: Biking at Payne's Prairie Preserve State Park


Prairie Creek Preserve

Pretty section, the Preserve protects 500 acres along the floodplain of Prairie Creek – which drains Newnans Lake into Paynes Prairie. We stopped off at Kate's Fish Camp along the creek leading to Newnan's Lake - a bit of old Florida.


Eastern Segment

The second half of the trail to the "old Florida" railroad town of Hawthorne is a pleasant, tree-lined ride. However, it is also flat, non-descript, and the grassy right-of-way is wide so the trees provide very little shade.

Rochelle Trailhead to Lochloosa Trailhead

Rochelle Trailhead - parking only.

Lochloosa Trailhead to Hawthorne Trailhead

Lochloosa Trailhead: Parking, also an equestrian trailhead.


Hawthorne

Hawthorne Trailhead: Parking, picnic, port-a-potty. The trailhead at Hawthorne is about two blocks east to the old "downtown," bypassed years ago by Rte. 301, another couple of blocks east. There are some interesting sights here, the tiny Hawthorne Historical Museum is a local labor of love.


Downtown Connector

Boulware Springs to Depot Park

Surprisingly pretty (we were expecting something more urban) ride under canopy from Boulware Springs Trailhead to Downtown Gainesville. Link to Waldo Road Greenway, Depot Avenue Rail-Trail, Kermit Sigmon Trail. Gainesville is doing a great job developing Depot Park.

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