Visit The La Chua Trail and Alachua Sink at Payne’s Prairie State Park

The north half of Paynes Prairie State Park is accessed from NE15th Street near Boulware Springs in Gainesville
The north half of Paynes Prairie State Park is accessed from NE15th Street near Boulware Springs in Gainesville

Paynes Prairie is biologically, geologically and historically unique. This park became Florida´s first state preserve in 1971 and is now designated as a National Natural Landmark. Noted artist and naturalist William Bartram called it the great Alachua Savannah when he wrote about his visit to the prairie in 1774.

The oaks at near the parking lot may be hundreds of years old!
The oaks at near the parking lot may be hundreds of years old!

Depending on the season you visit this end of the park, you’ll likely encounter alligators, American bison, wild horses and feral pigs.  But remember, this is NOT A ZOO, so give wide berth to animals you might encounter.  And try not to wander too far off the trails!

Simple rules!
Simple rules!
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Hiking is the main activity for visitors on the La Chua Trail, so dress accordingly. And bring bug repellent if it’s hot!

 

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Pets are not allowed on the La Chua Trail, but can be taken on the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail just outside the park.
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The Alachua Sink

 

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No worries about wet feet when you’re viewing the Alachua Sink from the boardwalk!