Home of the University of Florida, Gainesville is full of small urban parks with trails and surrounded by larger natural lands. Alachua County has done an excellent job setting aside lands just outside city limits for preservation.

Nearby: Cedar Key, Ocala, Micanopy, Palatka, Lake City, Trenton

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Trails and Parks in Gainesville

  • Hogtown Creek at Alfred Ring Park Alfred A. Ring Park - Alfred A. Ring Park features a dense slope forest along Hogtown Creek with old-growth trees and rare wildflowers along Appalachian-style ravines, a scenic hike
  • Barr Hammock Barr Hammock Preserve - Encompassing more than 5,700 acres, Barr Hammock Preserve near Gainesville includes an expansive wetland area, the Levy Prairie, an excellent birding destination.
  • Bivens Arm Bivens Arm Nature Park - The City of Gainesville's very first nature park, Bivens Arm surrounds a marshy "arm" of Paynes Prairie, where trees tower above the network of nature trails.
  • The Cellon Oak Cellon Oak Park - The largest live oak tree in Florida, the Cellon Oak north of Gainesville is more than 30 feet in diameter and shades a space that puts most other oaks to shame.
  • Cofrin Nature Park Cofrin Nature Park - One of Gainesville's urban nature parks, Cofrin Nature Park is right near the Oaks Mall on Newberry Rd and features a half-mile trail in a shady forest
  • Waterfalls inside Devil's Millhopper Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park - It's the trickle of water that catches your attention, the steady drip and splash down the rocky rim and into the depths of one of Florida's largest sinkholes at Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park.
  • Devils Millhopper Devil’s Millhopper Nature Trail - The nature trail at Devil's Millhopper State Park circles the lip of an enormous sinkhole before plunging down into it on a series of staircases with views of natural waterfalls.
  • Dudley Farm Dudley Farm Historic State Park - For a ramble through a authentic, preserved Florida pioneer homestead, visit Dudley Farm Historic State Park, interpreting the life of the 1800s Florida farm family who lived here.
  • Hogtown Greenway Hogtown Creek Greenway - On the Hogtown Creek Greenway, get lost in the woods in the heart of old Gainesville while getting in touch with the past
  • Ichetucknee Springs Ichetucknee Springs State Park - A swimming hole as a work of natural art, the deep gash in the earth that is Ichetucknee Spring glows an unearthly robin's-egg blue, cradled in a limestone bowl within a leafy glen.
  • John Mahon Nature Park John Mahon Nature Park - Ten acres isn't a lot for a natural area, but at John Mahon Nature Park in Gainesville, it's plenty for a quick, refreshing walk in the woods off Newberry Road.
  • Visiting the Bottle Tree at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens Kanapaha Botanical Gardens - One of the most beautiful and complex gardens in Florida, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens sits beneath grand live oaks with more than a dozen themed gardens on 62 acres. Bamboo is their specialty, with Florida's best collection of these tall grasses.
  • La Chua Trail La Chua Trail - Located at the north end of Paynes Prairie, the La Chua Trail is an excellent wildlife watching site, with an elevated boardwalk and lengthy dike out to an observation tower.
  • Loblolly Woods Loblolly Woods Nature Park - Protecting 159 acres of lush forests along the confluence of Possum Creek and Hogtown Creek, Loblolly Woods Nature Park is a beauty spot in urban Gainesville.
  • Longleaf Flatwoods Reserve Longleaf Flatwoods Reserve - Amid the vast uplands between Orange Lake, Lake Lochloosa, and Paynes Prairie southeast of Gainesville, Longleaf Flatwoods Reserve offers a scenic day hiking destination on a series of loops created for equestrian use.
  • Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings home Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park - At Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park, docents in 1940s dress take you through the living and working space of this Pulitzer-winning novelist beloved by regional historians for her accurate depictions of rural North Florida.
  • Mill Creek Preserve Mill Creek Preserve West - Mill Creek Preserve encompasses 5-plus miles of hiking on nearly 1,200 acres of unexpected delights in an area well-known for its sinkholes and disappearing streams.
  • Moonshine Creek Moonshine Creek Trails - The Moonshine Creek Trails immerse you in the botanical beauty and karst weirdness that are important facets of San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park.
  • Morningside Nature Center (2) Morningside Nature Center - Since 1970, Morningside Nature Center has been Gainesville's flagship nature park, protecting the largest stand of longleaf pine savanna remaining within city limits.
  • River sink at O'Leno State Park O’Leno State Park - Once a pioneer community along the Old Bellamy Road connecting St. Augustine and Tallahassee in 1826, O'Leno State Park protects one of North Florida's weirder geologic wonders, a disappearing river.
  • Paynes Prairie Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park - At Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, bison and wild horse roam free amid one of the state's largest and northernmost grasslands, a shallow basin cradled in a park 21,000 acres in size.
  • Poe Springs Nature Trail Poe Springs Park - At Poe Springs Park, the Poe Springs Nature Trail carries you across a landscape shaped by water acting on limestone, where surface rock is obvious and studded with fossils.
  • Along the White Trail Prairie Creek Preserve - Offering hiking trails in the deep shade of the floodplain of Prairie Creek near Gainesville, Prairie Creek Preserve is a beauty spot provided to the public by the Alachua Conservation Trust
  • River Rise River Rise Preserve State Park - A passive preserve, River Rise Preserve State Park adjoins O'Leno State Park, taking up where O'Leno leaves off with the Santa Fe River flowing underground. The river emerges all at once at River Rise, a significant geologic feature that bars paddlers from heading any farther upstream.
  • San Felasco Hammock San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park - As the site of a significant Spanish mission, weird karst geology, and an array of Appalachian plants and trees that simply don't creep much farther south, San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park is a passive preserve that most visitors only get to know a corner of.
  • Sweetwater Preserve Sweetwater Preserve - The 125-acre Sweetwater Preserve in Gainesville provides a buffer and wildlife corridor on the northern rim of Paynes Prairie, with a hiking loop on its eastern side and bike trails on its western side.
  • UF NATL Nature Trails UF NATL Nature Trails - Circling restoration and natural areas on the campus of the University of Florida, the UF NATL Nature Trails provide an excellent orientation to Florida's native trees, plants, and grasses.
  • Watermelon Pond Watermelon Pond WEA - With more than 4,200 acres in this FWC Wildlife Environmental Area, Watermelon Pond WEA offers both solitude and scenery along a vast system of prairie habitats.

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