Explore the most popular hiking trails in Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

One of the best trails in Gainesville. Lots of different scenery.

Gets busy, floods. Worth going back to for quick day hikes

21 days ago

Floods pretty often and you won’t be able to walk out to the lookout. Still worth visiting and making the attempt

27 days ago

very cute and very easy to hike! however the majority of it was flooded after heavy rains the few days before we went so we didn’t get to see all of it, only reason i did 4 stars and not 5, but i saw a gator so that’s cool! definitely want to go again when i can walk the whole thing!

Love running this trail. Always lots of wildlife! Can get flooded after heavy rain though.

4 months ago

The trail is very busy on weekends. One walks about 1.9 miles to and from the berm, which was flooded today.

The part of the trail that goes out into the prairie (most of the trail) is under water. Makes this a nice short walk, less than 1 mi.

4 months ago

If you want to see alligators up close and in the wild, this is the place. Horses, mosquitoes, birds, and fish almost always are present, as well, and lucky walkers occasionally see deer and/or families of wild boar ambling across the trail into the grassy side foliage. Along with Devil’s Millhopper, this is a must-see for visitors and new residents.

4 months ago

The trail passes through pretty changes at the edge of the hammock and is a great place to see a big variety of typical North Florida — turtles, deer, palms, pines, squirrels, sand, ants, mosquitoes, mosses, oaks, flowering plants, and vines. Then comes the tower and the view onto Paynes Prairie, which is a totally separate experience, including glimpses of horses. If you have the stamina (not hard at all for adults, but I do remember the heaviness of my two-year-old!), and if the passage is dry enough to let you through, add the walk along the berm onto the prairie to see a unique vista. Bring snacks, water, and bug spray.

5 months ago

Great for birding, wild horses, bison, and plenty of gators. Great photography opportunities.

Awesome hike and an over cast day which made it comfortable. We will do this one again. Great trails for the 4 legged babies too.

Great trail to see a lot of wildlife

It's a short but sweet hike. I recommend the left fork on the way in to stay on the Prairie rim.

6 months ago

A great place to see some alligators.

8 months ago

I really wanted to get to the bluff tower before Irma possibly causes flooding. Boy was it still wet. Not sure i really like to wade through water. Saw deer, turtle, horses, alligator, herons, mocking birds and more. Slogging through calf deep water though.. thank goodness for trekking poles. It seemed like the water was deeper on the way back. I don't know hydrology or if that was my imagination. The tower was worth the water wading.

8 months ago

Yes you will see the ponies pretty neat. Yes you'll see a lot of birds. And if you go down the trail part Marked basin you will see Deepwater. I didn't bring my trecking poles. Almost made it to the end, but chickened out. I'll be back

Cones dike trail is flooded probably about a mile or so in. But prior to that you'll see pigs, hear alligators, and see a lot of birds. I didn't have my trekking poles so I didn't want to wade in too deep. Plus when I heard a gator splash close by I turned around. Didn't do all of chacala pond. Next time

This is a must do Florida trail. We saw atleast 50 gators, bison, and wild horses. A very unique trail for Florida! It got 5/5 for experience but it is a very short trail.

9 months ago

Bolen Bluff is amazing! I saw 5 wild horses, bison, deer, wild pigs, rabbits , a hawk, some egrets and a snake. A wild colt walked right up to me! (Please do not feed the wildlife!) Nice one mile loop and an out and back to the observation platform for 2.5 miles. Didn't get to climb the observation platform due to a large wasps nest on bottom step. Oh well, the Bison, horses and deer made up for it. Definitely will return!

10 months ago

This so far has been our favorite trail this year. Lots of wildlife here! We saw rabbits,deer,snakes,frogs galore, wild horses and yes there are wild bison out in the prairie! The first leg of this journey starts out in the woods and the mosquitos are very thick so bring some good bug spray and spray well. Once you emerge from the woods it's all open land at the end of the trail is a nice watch tower with a lower level that provides shade. Looking out into the prairie you can see a very long distance. Look for the flocks of white birds and you will find the Bison and horses They clean the bugs off them. A good pair of binoculars is a must as there is plenty to see. We will definitely be visiting this place a few times a year.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Pleasant, easy trail with a nice viewing deck at the end. Awesome for trail running!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Solid trail. Good amount of wildlife to admire. Nice view from the observation platform at the end. Watch out for snakes!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

See previous 1 star review

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

If you live in Gainesville, this trail is a must!
We take all of our visitors on this little walk so they can get a real living Florida swamp experience. For older adults or people that can't walk very far the first part of the hike is a well constructed boardwalk that goes out to the sink. For younger visitors, I would suggest walking all the way out to the tower. Just keep your eyes peeled. Alligators, turtles, and a huge variety of birds call Paynes Prairie home and if you're lucky you can spot the herd of bison or the herd of wild horses.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Lots of alligators, for some people the biggest they've ever seen. If you're lucky, you may find a wild horse. Not a dangerous trail at all, though. Scenery is flat wetlands, fair amount of different kinds of birds too.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Well maintained, saw bountiful wildlife...birds, bison, wild horses, gators, owl

Thursday, March 09, 2017

saw horses, bison, gators and birds! amazing!

on La Chua Trail

Sunday, February 26, 2017

great for a family hike. wear sunblock!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Incredible place. hundreds of sandhill cranes, bison and wild horses.

Thursday, January 19, 2017


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