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Latest update: February 2023

Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail.... Florida

Top 10 FL Bike Trail... E-Z Google Map, Over 65 Trail Photos

Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail is a linear state park that stretches 15 miles from the City of Gainesville's Boulware Springs Park through Paynes 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. (Map link and photos below.)

Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail

Map link...
Gainesville Hawthorne Trail

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Location: Alachua County (Gainesville)
Mileage: 15 miles (spur and connectors add more)
Surface: Asphalt, 10'; narrows to 8' east of Lochloosa Trailhead
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
Nearby points of interest: Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, University of Florida, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park (Cross Creek)

Bike Shops/Rentals:

Trek Bicycle-Gainesville  (formerly Gator Cycling)

Support and Advocacy:

Florida State Parks Foundation

 Page Summary:

  1. Biking the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail.
  2. Western Segment
    - Gainesville Trailhead, La Chua Trail, The Hammock, Big Sink, Alachua Lake Overlook, Prairie Creek Preserve
  3. Eastern Segment
    - Rochelle Trailhead, Lochloosa Trailhead, Hawthorne Trailhead
  4. Downtown Connector
    - Boulware Springs to Depot Park
  5. More Information and Resources


Biking the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail... Comments and Photos

This scenic, mostly rural trail is great for biking or hiking. Check out the connecting La Chua hiking trail, a short walk into the heart of Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. We like the western half of the trail, from Boulware Springs City Park in Gainesville to CR 325 (about 7.7 miles one-way). This section has a patch of mildly hilly twists and turns, a rarity for Florida trails.

Western Segment

This section contains the shadiest parts of the trail and little road noise, most popular with bikers. 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 we think 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 Paynes Prairie, excellent for wildlife viewing - pedestrian/hiking only but worth the 3-mile hike round-trip on a boardwalk and dike along Alachua Sink to a viewing platform. The wildlife roam freely here, stay aware of your surroundings. We saw alligators (lots!), wild horses, bison and many birds. Note: The dike trail to the viewing platform is closed when flooding occurs. due to the presence of wildlife, dogs are prohibited.

The Hammock and Big Sink, Alachua Lake Overlook spur

Sharp curves some hills in this area are a more challenging ride. Link to Alachua Lake Overlook - 0.7 mi. spur to overlook at Paynes Prairie.

Prairie Creek Preserve

Pretty section, the Preserve protects 500 acres along the floodplain of Prairie Creek – which drains Newnans Lake into Paynes Prairie.



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 Trailhead

The Hawthorne Trailhead has parking, picnic, and a port-a-potty. The trailhead 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 and Cultural Center, originally built as a church in 1907, 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 Depot Park in Gainesville. Link  here to the Depot Avenue Rail-Trail, which in turn connects to Waldo Road Greenway, Kermit Sigmon Trail, and University of Florida Campus Greenway.

More information on Depot Park and trails in Gainesville

More Information and Resources

Nearby Biking:

Gainesville Bike Trails (4 trails)
Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park (eco-biking)
North FL Region - More trails plus Regional Overview map

Related Resources:

Florida State Parks-Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail

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