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Latest update: Nov. 2016

Top 10... Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail

Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail (a linear state park) stretches 16.5 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: 16.5 miles
Surface: Asphalt, 10'
Location: Gainesville, Alachua County
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


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 LaChua 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.

LaChua 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

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. 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.

Lochloosa Trailhead - Prairie Creek Preserve - Hawthorne Trailhead

Lochloosa Trailhead: Parking, also an equestrian trailhead. Hawthorne Trailhead: Parking, picnic, but no facilities.

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.

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