Nature Parks

Discover Florida as it was!

Gainesville's Natural Treasures can be found throughout the city. You can stroll along a trail deep in the woods, walk a boardwalk edging a blackwater stream, take a class to become familiar with the fascinating wildlife, or step back in time over 130 years on a ten-acre Living History Farm. Visit the spring where Gainesville began or ride your bicycle or horse on the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail. Enjoy some of the best bird watching in North Florida, observe butterflies busy at wildflowers, and hear frogs calling for mates. Nature parks are an integral part of the reason Gainesville is one of the best places in the U.S. to live... there is a sanctuary within minutes of wherever you are in the city. See these treasures for yourself... get to know your nature parks!

 

29th Road Nature Park - map

RTS routes 6, 15
1502 NW 29th Road
Park hours from dawn to dusk daily
5 acres

Situated in the upper Hogtown Creek basin, 29th Road Park features nature trails through upland mixed forest, slope forest, and bottomland forest along the shady banks of Hogtown Creek, Gainesville’s largest stream. Breathtaking views of fern-covered slopes beneath towering trees offer visitors a refreshing retreat from the frantic pace of the city. No parking, pedestrian access only.

Alfred A. Ring Park - map

RTS route 8
1801 NW 23rd Boulevard
Parking at Elks Lodge

Park hours
7:00 am—6:00 pm daily (Nov—Apr)
7:00 am—8:00 pm daily (May—Oct)
21 acres

Over a mile of trails wind through upland mixed forest and slope forest, tracing the course of Hogtown Creek. A scenic overlook provides visitors a view of the confluence of Glen Springs Run and Hogtown Creek where the clear water from Glen Springs sharply contrasts with the tannic water of Hogtown Creek. Birds, gray squirrels, and other urban wildlife are abundant in the park. Visitors may walk or jog the trails, picnic under the pavilion, romp in the playground, or rest on a quiet bench.

Bivens Arm Nature Park - map

RTS route 13
3650 S Main Street
Park hours 9:00 am—5:00 pm daily
81 acres

Newly rebuilt boardwalks and overlooks, new hiking trails, new playground equipment, and other upgraded amenities now await visitors to one of Gainesville’s oldest nature parks. The lush greenery of the live oak hammock provides habitat for forest wildlife, while wading birds and other creatures thrive in the park’s two marshes. The forests and wetlands in this park provide an important buffer between urban Gainesville and the extensive natural areas of Paynes Prairie, and a convenient getaway to enjoy the peace and quiet of natural north Florida.

Boulware Springs Park and Historic Waterworks- map

Boulware Springs Park and Historic Waterworks

RTS route 2
3300 SE 15th Street
Park hours 
7:00 am—6:00 pm daily (Nov—Apr)
7:00 am—8:00 pm daily (May—Oct)

The nineteenth-century waterworks building, located at Boulware Springs, once provided the water supply for the City of Gainesville. Boulware Springs produces approximately 194,000 gallons of water a day, which flows into Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. Picnic facilities are available.

Boulware Springs Nature Park - map

RTS route 2
3300 SE 15th Street
Park hours 
7:00 am—6:00 pm daily (Nov—Apr)
7:00 am—8:00 pm daily (May—Oct)
106 acres

Boulware Springs is a trailhead for the 17-mile Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail. Picnic facilities are available as well as an area for parking and unloading horses to ride along the state trail. The trail is largely used by hikers, bicyclists, and horseback riders. City staff and volunteers are actively restoring the degraded sandhill and upland pine forest north of the parking lot. Please contact 352-334-2231 for volunteering information.

Broken Arrow Bluff - map

RTS route 75
5724 SW 46th Place
Park hours from dawn to dusk daily
11 acres

 

Broken Arrow Bluff is located off of Archer Rd, West of the Interstate. As you are driving West, look on the right for the sign for Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, turn into the road that leads to you to the Gardens, and take another right into the road that takes you into the neighborhood, not the gate to the Gardens. Follow the road to the end, there is a cul-de-sac, and you will see the gate for the Broken Arrow Bluff. Park hours from dawn to dusk. No parking, pedestrian access only. Dogs are allowed on leash, and a good place for wildlife viewing!

Nestled between the beauty of Kanapaha Botanical Gardens and the sweeping vistas of Lake Kanapaha, Broken Arrow Bluff provides a glimpse into the mystery of Florida. Hidden under the spreading branches of mighty live oaks and upland mixed forest, towering limerock outcrops border a sinkhole which connects the lake’s surface waters to hidden aquifers beneath your feet. The abundant bird life that thrives in the marshy lake and surrounding forests provides a musical backdrop to the scenes of nature mirrored in water.

 

Clear Lake Nature Park - map

RTS route 20
5480 SW 1st Avenue
Walk or bike only, no parking is available. 
Park hours from dawn to dusk daily
14 acres

 

Bordering the extensive wetlands of Sugarfoot Prairie, Clear Lake Nature Park is quietly nestled between the old University Avenue communities and SW 62nd Boulevard. The trails in this small park invite the visitor to slow down and soak up the majestic sweep of ancient live oaks, the peaceful seclusion from Gainesville’s busy streets, and the musical chirping of birds hidden among the wetland fringes. No parking, pedestrian access only.

Cofrin Nature Park

RTS routes 5, 43
4810 NW 8th Avenue
Park hours 
7:00 am—6:00 pm daily (Nov—Apr)
7:00 am—8:00 pm daily (May—Oct)
30 acres

In the heart of urbanized west Gainesville, Cofrin Nature Park features a half-mile long hiking trail. Once a horse farm, much of this park is returning to forest through natural succession. Large hardwood trees are found in the forest along picturesque Beville Heights Creek, and seepage wetlands on the slopes above the creek support lush growths of ferns and wildflowers.

Colclough Pond Nature Park

RTS routes 16, 17
2315 S Main Street
Walk or bike only on sidewalk—
no parking is available. 

Park hours from dawn to dusk daily
5 acres

A short walk on a shady trail leads to Colclough (pronounced Coke-lee) Pond where visitors can enjoy bank fishing and wildlife viewing. Along with the connected Colclough Pond Sanctuary, owned by Audubon of Florida, the nature park protects the pond’s shoreline. No parking, pedestrian access only.

Duval Park

600 Block of NE 21st Street
Park hours: from dawn to dusk daily
26 acres

 

Newly opened to the public, this facility was bought with funds from the Florida Communities Trust and developed by the City of Gainesville Public Works Department with assistance from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Tucked away in East Gainesville's Duval neighborhood, this park features a 2-acre stormwater pond built in 2010 to help improve the health of Lake Forest Creek and Newnan's Lake. Park visitors can stroll on the fully accessible trail system overlooking the pond and winding among the stately pines that surround it.

Flatwoods Conservation Area

RTS routes 15, 24
2010 NE 31st Avenue
Park hours from dawn to dusk daily
71 acres

 

Mesic and wet pine flatwoods, along with a basin swamp and a cypress dome on the property, provide habitat for a variety of wildlife at Flatwoods Conservation Area. A mowed path along a series of drainage canals allows visitors to observe the natural communities found here.

Green Acres Park

RTS route 5
3704 SW 8th Avenue

Access from the dead end of SW 40th Street, just south of SW 6th Place
Park hours from dawn to dusk daily
37 acres

Green Acres provides a mix of recreational opportunities. A playground and open field at the center of the park provide for active recreation, while trails pass through the park’s xeric live oak hammock, offering opportunities for quiet nature relaxation. The park also protects part of the Hogtown Creek floodplain.

Gum Root Park

No RTS routes
7300 NE 27th Avenue
Park hours from dawn to dusk daily
372 acres

Gum Root Park features trails through a variety of natural communities, including blackwater stream, floodplain swamp, xeric hammock, baygall, pasture, and pine flatwoods. Adjacent to hundreds of acres of state conservation land, Gum Root is a great location for birding and wildlife viewing.

Hogtown Creek Headwaters

RTS route 8
1500 NW 45th Avenue

70 acres

The Hogtown Creek Headwaters Nature Park will soon be getting a facelift! Other improvements that will begin in 2015 and will include a nature trail, playground, pavilion, and a tennis/volleyball court. Please be aware that the park will be closed to visitors during construction and signage will be posted to this effect. If you have any questions about this project, please call Linda Demetropoloulos, Nature Operations Manager, at 352-393-8445. Thank you for your patience and we are sure you will enjoy the improvements!
From former pinelands and majestic upland mixed forest to shady fern-covered wetlands where water slowly seeps from the ground to form the beginnings of Hogtown Creek, this 70-acre park protects a variety of natural habitats. The park was purchased with funds from the Florida Communities Trust and with a generous donation from Home Depot. Nature trails, a playground, a picnic pavilion, and other amenities are planned, providing options for both nature-based and active recreation.

John Mahon Nature Park

RTS routes 5, 43
4300 Block W Newberry Road

The park entrance is at the end of the LifeSouth parking lot.
Park hours from dawn to dusk daily
10 acres

Located just off Newberry Road, John Mahon Nature Park features a loop trail through the forest. Visitors can enjoy upland mixed forest, hydric hammock, and former upland pine forest as they hike the trail. The park serves as a memorial to Dr. John Mahon, who lived nearby, and who worked tirelessly to preserve large areas of Paynes Prairie, San Felasco Hammock, and the Hogtown Creek Greenway as natural public lands. Dr. Mahon devoted a substantial part of his life to public service and was well respected and active with many conservation organizations.

Loblolly Woods Nature Park

RTS route 5
3315 NW 5th Avenue
Access from 34th Street
Park hours from dawn to dusk daily
159 acres

Trails and boardwalks provide shady routes for walking, biking, or jogging on this portion of the Hogtown Creek Greenway, considered one of the best birding spots in the county. Follow the trail connecting NW 8th Ave. to NW 34th St. past the picturesque confluence of Hogtown and Possum Creeks, or explore the ¼-mile boardwalk between NW 16th Ave. and NW 8th Ave. Restrooms and parking are available at the address shown above.

Morningside Nature Center

RTS route 11
3540 E University Avenue

Park Hours:
8:00 am – 6:00 pm daily (Nov–Apr);
8:00 am – 8:00 pm daily (May–Oct).
Living History Farm: Tues.–Sat., 9:00 am – 4:30 pm.
Holiday Hours: Morningside Nature Center, Park and Living History Farm will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

278 acres
Please note, as part of Nature Operations’ land management practices, when prescribed burns take place, the park may be closed. Please check this web site or call 352-334-3326 for updates.

Gainesville’s premier nature park, Morningside Nature Center, is one of the last remaining examples of fire-dependent longleaf pine woodlands in the area. More than six miles of trails wind through sandhill, flatwoods, cypress domes, and areas where native vegetation is being restored. Morningside boasts a spectacular wildflower display and opportunity to see a diverse array of wildlife. For a complete listing of programs and events please visit our ongoing programs and events pages on this site.

Morningside Living History Farm

RTS route 11
3540 E University Avenue

Living History Farm Hours:
Tues.–Sat., 9:00 am – 4:30 pm.

Holiday Hours:  Morningside Nature Center, Park and Living History Farm will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

10 acres
Please note, as part of Nature Operations’ land management practices, when prescribed burns take place, the park may be closed. Please check this web site or call 352-334-3326 for updates.

The Living History Farm at Morningside Nature Center brings Florida cracker family living in the mid to late 1800s to life again. On Living History days (Saturdays, September to May) farm visitors can observe daily life in 1870 as staff interpret bygone days through chores and activities. CANE BOIL & FIDDLEFEST takes place on November 29, 9:00-4:00 p.m. the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend.
The Longleaf Pine Youth Fiddle Contest will take place during the Annual Cane Boil, thus bringing together the traditions of giving thanks and fall harvest with a music tradition that has been so influential throughout the South. Make this event part of your Thanksgiving weekend tradition!

Palm Point Nature Park

No RTS routes
7401 Lakeshore Drive
Park hours from dawn to dusk daily
17 acres

Reaching out from the surrounding shoreline, Palm Point is a true gem among Gainesville’s Nature Parks. Palm Point’s unique geographic location makes it a magnet for some of the most spectacular migratory and local bird populations. Brilliant wildflowers attract many native butterfly species, while Newnans Lake provides excellent opportunities for alligator sightings and some of the best bank fishing this close to town.

Possum Creek Park

No RTS routes
4009 NW 53rd Avenue
Park hours from dawn to dusk daily
76 acres

Possum Creek Park features mowed recreation fields suitable for ballgames, flying kites, frisbee and other sports. Children of all ages enjoy the playground and the picnic pavilion. A jogging trail encircles the main field and scenic nature trails through the forest and floodplain of Possum Creek provide visitors the opportunity to quietly enjoy the natural world at their own pace. The park also features a contemporary skate park and an off-leash dog area. Picture credits: Aero Photo/Spohn Ranch.

San Felasco Park

No RTS routes
6400 NW 43 Way 
Park hours:
8:00 am—6:00 pm daily (Nov—Apr)
8:00 am—8:00 pm daily (May—Oct)
194 acres

 

At Gainesville's northwestern edge lies this beautiful forested oasis, recently transferred to the City of Gainesville from Alachua County. Listen to the songs of birds, breathe in the scent of pines, and glimpse colorful wildflowers as you explore the hiking trails and boardwalks that lead through pine flatwoods and cypress swamps. A playground and multiple grills and picnic shelters make this a great place for families to enjoy the outdoors together.

Split Rock Conservation Area

RTS route 75
SW 20th Avenue—limited access by walking or bicycles only; no parking is available. To arrange for a tour please contact Nature Operations Division at 352-334-3326.

Park hours from dawn to dusk daily
241 acres

We are pleased to announce that a new pedestrian/bicycle entrance to Split Rock Conservation Area is open for public use. The entrance is located just north of the Portofino neighborhood on SW 20th Avenue and is easily reached from RTS bus route 76. We invite you to come and explore the trails in this beautiful natural area!  If you have any questions, please contact us at 352-393-5067.
Near the sinkhole where Hogtown Creek disappears into the Floridan aquifer, Split Rock Conservation Area protects acres of forest and wetlands. Forested areas include diverse calcareous hammock with limestone outcrops, sinkholes, and majestic oak and hickory trees. Split Rock also contains portions of Hogtown Prairie, a vast wetland marsh which is seasonally flooded by Hogtown Creek.

Springtree Park

RTS route 8
2700 NW 39th Avenue
Park hours from dawn to dusk daily
12 acres

Springtree Park features a small playground and picnic area, as well as nature trails that pass through flatwoods with towering pines and fern covered slopes near Three Lakes Creek, a tributary of Possum Creek. No parking, pedestrian access only. 

Terwilliger Pond Conservation Area

RTS route 20
460 SW 62nd Boulevard
Walk or bike only in the bike path – no parking or trails are available. Experience the view!

25 acres

Located along the sweeping curve of SW 62nd Boulevard, Terwilliger Pond provides an ever-changing view of the beauties of nature. During times of high water, the pond explodes with color when the American lotus blooms and wetland birds arrive. As the waters recede, wetland birds depart and songbirds add a splash of color to the new plant growth that emerges.