Immediately west of well-known Devil’s Millhopper, San Felasco Hammock holds many secrets across its expansive 7,400 acres stretching from Gainesville to Alachua.
Karst features provide points of interest, including sinkholes, swallets, and losing streams that vanish into the earth.
It’s the nearest peninsular Floridians can get to the feel of the Appalachians on a walk in the woods, with sassafras and trillium growing on shady slopes.
Much of the trail network lies beneath an incredibly high canopy of towering pines and hardwoods.
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Address: 11101 Millhopper Road, Gainesville
Fees: $4 vehicle, $2 per pedestrian or cyclist
Restroom: At the trailheads
Land manager: Florida State Parks
Open 8 AM to sunset. Leashed pets welcome, but please do not go off trail with them.
From Interstate 75 exit 390, take SR 222 (NW 39th Ave) west 2.9 miles to CR 241 (NW 143rd Street). Turn right. Drive 2 miles north to Millhopper Rd (NW 69th Ave) and turn right. Continue 2 miles to the hiker parking area on the south side of the road.
The equestrian / cyclist trailhead is at 13201 San Felasco Pky, Alachua. Take exit 399 off Interstate 75 for US 441 southbound. Drive 2.7 miles to Progress Blvd. Turn right. Continue 0.6 mile to the trailhead, the road name changing as it enters the park.
About the Park
The southernmost northern deciduous forest, the leafy glades of San Felasco Hammock are a delight to explore.
Rugged terrain characterizes much of the preserve, from distinct karst features to steepheads to rolling hills cradling ponds and lakes.
The forest is full of ancient echoes. Layers of history date back to Florida’s earliest residents, with artifacts found dating back to 8000 BC.
When the Spanish established their San Francisco de Potano mission, one of the earliest in the New World, this was a crossroad of cultures centuries ago.
The preserve is zoned for several recreation uses, with two primary entrances west of US 441 between Gainesville and Alachua.
For off-road cyclists and equestrians, a trailhead on San Felasco Pkwy in Alachua provides ample parking and access to dedicated trail networks in the north end of the preserve.
The rambling network of equestrian trails is a series of connected loops criss-crossing the bike trails. Both are in hilly terrain.
For hikers, the parking area along Millhopper Road leads to miles of marked hiking trails.
We’ve personally mapped 10.2 miles of hiking north and south of Millhopper Rd on two trail networks.
Using the park maps, you can extend or compress your hiking routes using forest roads and marked cross trails that enable shortcuts.
South from the trailhead, Moonshine Creek Trail is a 2.5 mile loop around a losing stream and sinkhole amid lush slope and deciduous forests.
North of Millhopper Rd, the North Hiking Trails are made up of the Spring Grove Trail, largely in very hilly terrain in the sandhills, and the Old Spanish Way.
The latter trail circles karst features and marshes for a 7.7 mile perimeter hike, with shorter options possible using cross trails.
See our photos of San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.