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You are here > Home > Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail
Added: Jan. 2011; latest update: Nov. 2016

Top 10...  Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail

Gainesville-Hawthorne TrailGainesville-Hawthorne Trail

Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail (a linear state park) stretches 16.5 miles from the City of Gainesville's Boulware Springs Park through the Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park and the Lochloosa Wildlife Management Area and ends in the small town of Hawthorne. Wooded and quiet, there are even are some winding hills to challenge you! There are several hiking trails leading from the bike trail. Paved spurs lead to scenic Paynes Prairie overlooks. From the Boulware Springs Trailhead, a link connects to Downtown Gainesville, the Waldo Road Greenway and Depot Avenue Rail-Trail for an additional 6.5 miles of biking. (More description, photos and map below.)


View Larger Map
Mileage: 16.5 miles
Surface: Asphalt, 10'
Location: Gainesville, Alachua County
Trailheads: Boulware Springs City Park at 300 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 detailed map, left)
Nearby Points of Interest: Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, University of Florida, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park (Cross Creek)

THE BEST TRAIL SECTIONS TO RIDE... and additional comments by MUDFISH

I recommend the western half of the trail, from Boulware Springs City Park to CR 325 (about 7.7 miles).

This half includes a short section of hills and turns, a 0.7 mi. spur to Payne's Prairie Overlook, and entrances to some popular hiking trails. It also 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.

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. 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. Check out the tiny Hawthorne Historical Museum (pictured below), a local labor of love.

BOBCAT'S PHOTO GALLERY along the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail
(hover over photo for larger view)

Gainesville Trailhead at Boulware Springs
Parking and facilities are located at the former Water Works Building
at Boulware Springs - Gainesville's original water supply.
Boulware Springs waterworksBoulware Springs waterworks Boulware Springs waterworksBoulware Springs waterworks Boulware Springs waterworksBoulware Springs waterworks Boulware Springs waterworksBoulware Springs waterworks Boulware Springs waterworksBoulware Springs waterworks
Boulware Springs Trailhead Trail near Boulware Springs Old water works building
Boulware Springs Trailhead to La Chua Trail
Scenic ride under canopy. Link to Sweetwater Overlook.
La Chua Trail is a scenic hiking trail at Payne's Prairie (see more below).
Gainesville-Hawthorne TrailGainesville-Hawthorne Trail Gainesville-Hawthorne TrailGainesville-Hawthorne Trail Gainesville-Hawthorne TrailGainesville-Hawthorne Trail Gainesville-Hawthorne TrailGainesville-Hawthorne Trail Gainesville-Hawthorne TrailGainesville-Hawthorne Trail
Along the trail Sweetwater Overlook Intersection with
La Chua Trail
The Hammock and Big Sink
Sharp curves and steep hills in this area are a more challenging ride.
Link to Alachua Lake Overlook (see below).
The HammockThe Hammock The HammockThe Hammock Big SinkBig Sink Big Sink, La Chua TrailBig Sink, La Chua Trail Big Sink, La Chua TrailBig Sink, La Chua Trail
Paynes Prairie - Alachua Lake Overlook spur
0.7 mi. spur to overlook at Payne's Prairie
Alachua Lake OverlookAlachua Lake Overlook Alachua Lake OverlookAlachua Lake Overlook Alachua Lake OverlookAlachua Lake Overlook Alachua Lake OverlookAlachua Lake Overlook Alachua Lake OverlookAlachua Lake Overlook
Lochloosa Trailhead - Prairie Creek Preserve
Parking, also an equestrian trailhead
Lochloosa TrailheadLochloosa Trailhead Prairie Creek PreservePrairie Creek Preserve Prairie Creek PreservePrairie Creek Preserve Prairie CreekPrairie Creek Prairie CreekPrairie Creek
Lochloosa Trailhead Trail at Prairie Creek Preserve Prairie Creek crossing
Hawthorne Trailhead
Parking, picnic, but no facilities. Flat, less shady.
Hawthorne TrailheadHawthorne Trailhead Hawthorne TrailheadHawthorne Trailhead Hawthorne TrailheadHawthorne Trailhead Hawthorne TrailheadHawthorne Trailhead Hawthorne History MuseumHawthorne History Museum
Trailhead/parking Trail at Hawthorne Hawthorne
Historical Museum
Downtown Connector
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.
Downtown ConnectorDowntown Connector Downtown ConnectorDowntown Connector Downtown ConnectorDowntown Connector Downtown ConnectorDowntown Connector Downtown ConnectorDowntown Connector
Start of connector at Boulware Springs Access to Sweetwater Preserve trails Along the connector More road crossings through this area Along the connector
Downtown ConnectorDowntown Connector, Depot Park Downtown ConnectorDowntown Connector, Depot Park Downtown ConnectorDowntown Connector, Depot Park Downtown ConnectorDowntown Connector, Depot Park Downtown ConnectorDowntown Connector, Depot Park
Williston Ave. is a busy street to cross Crossing at
Main Street
Depot Park Trail
La Chua Trail
Pedestrian/hiking only. 3 miles round-trip, but worth the hike to view wildlife including birds, alligators, wild horses and bison!
La Chua TrailLa Chua Trail La Chua TrailLa Chua Trail La Chua TrailLa Chua Trail La Chua TrailLa Chua Trail La Chua TrailLa Chua Trail
Boardwalk Trail along
Alachua Sink
Great white heron one of many birds seen Herd of wild horses with very large alligators on shoreline From viewing platform -  wildflowers, waterbirds

More information on the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail (opens in a new window):

- Florida State Parks-Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail

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