Description - The Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail is a 16-mile shady trail traveling between the two towns. Access is near the northern entrance from Boulware Springs Park on SE 15th Street. The trail is open from 8 A.M. to sunset daily. Users are invited to horseback ride, mountain bike or enjoy the trail on foot. The path is a crushed limestone and ballast. Private property borders much of the trail, so please be respectful. The trail parallels much of State Route 20 offering beautiful prairie views of Paynes Prairie Preserve and the Lochloosa Wildlife Management Area. Several areas offer expansive views particularly at Sweetwater Overlook. Please note that there has been a problem with car break-ins at the parking lot off SE 15th Street. It is advisable to keep valuables out of sight.
Copyright: Joyce Rankin-Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Common Florida Plant Life
- Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail is a well-maintained paved railroad bed averaging 10 feet in width. In the past, it served as an important transportation route. Several public lands are traversed including Lochloosa Wildlife Management Area, Paynes Prairie State Preserve and Boulware Springs City Park. Weekend users particularly favor the route. Locals cycle, in-line skate, hike, jog and ride horses through woods and past broad wet meadows and uplands. Horseback riders are asked to use the dirt path that parallels the paved path. For the most part, the trail travels in an east - west direction. At Boulware Springs City Park, users will find open lawns and tall oaks conducive for picnicking. The City has future plans to lengthen the trail and connect it with several city trails. At the town of Hawthorne, the trailhead is located along 2nd Avenue offering only a picnic table. The Lochloosa Wildlife Management Area and Paynes Prairie State Preserve also offer access. At the Wildlife Management Area, access is at 7209 Southeast 200th Drive. Equestrians are asked to use this trailhead, which offers plenty of horse trailer parking, something Hawthorne lacks. Paynes Prairie access falls near the North Rim Interpretive Center. Users should note that car break-ins do occur occasionally. Authorities advise keeping valuables out of sight.
Recreation - Recreation activities include hiking, horseback riding and biking. Wildlife is enjoyed at several scenic overlooks. Picnicking is available at Boulware Springs, Hawthorne, and Paynes Prairie.
Climate - Florida experiences mild, comfortable winters and warm to hot, humid summers. The area offers a great warm escape for outdoor recreation during the cold northern months. Summer temperatures average in the low 80's Fahrenheit and mid 20's Celsius. Winters are mild with temperatures averaging between the high 40's to the high 50's Fahrenheit. The average precipitation for the north central area is diverse. The central western area receives more than 60 inches per year while the central eastern tract receives about 50 inches. August and September are peak months of the hurricane season that lasts from June 1 through November 30.
The Gainesville-Hawthorne State trail is located on S.E. 15th Street and extends to Hawthorne near U.S. 301.