Trails at San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park

Where is it?

There are two trailheads a few miles apart.

The trailhead for hiking is at:  11101 Millhopper Road, Gainesville, FL.
The trailhead for equestrian and bike use is at:  13201 Progress Blvd., Alachua, FL.

Note that bicycles and horses are not allowed on the hiking trails. Likewise, hikers are not permitted on the bicycle trails.

The San Felasco Conservation Corridor

I accidentally went to the equestrian/bike trailhead first. Although there were no hiking trails, across the street was The San Felasco Conservation Corridor, a pedestrian trail managed by the City of Alachua. Although the trail was poorly marked, the park was small and the dead-ends short. I only became lost for brief moments. Although it was buggy, it was worth visiting, if only to see spectacular 500-year-old oak trees.

The Conservation Corridor does not have parking, but it is an easy walk from the San Felasco bike-trail parking lot. It also adjoins a small city park at 14100 NW 126th Terrace in Alachua. The city park has a small parking lot and restrooms.

How long are the hiking trails?

Hiking trail-loops range from 1.0 to 5.8 miles long.

Where can I get the trail maps?

You can print out trail maps for San Felasco at the Florida State Parks web site

Are there restrooms?

There are proper restrooms at the equestrian/biking trailhead, as well as a nice picnic area.

There is a portable toilet at the hiking trailhead. When I visited, the portable toilet was well kept. However, there were large carpenter ants on the toilet seat which seemed attracted to urine.

Is the trail difficult?

I hiked the 5.8 mile Spring Grove Trail loop.

The trail was clearly marked and well-maintained.

Sections of the trail were covered with loose sand, which slowed the pace just a bit. However, any person who can walk easily and without assistance should find these sections navigable.

The west side of the loop is hilly and some inclines steep by Florida standards. It had rained the day before, and valleys on the trail were puddled or muddy. The slopes were also a bit muddy, though not particularly slippery.

Note that multiple reviews report the equestrian and biking trails are not marked, and it is easy to become lost.

What will I see?

San Felasco is a younger forest. It has tall, thin trees but has matured away from palmetto scrub. There are plenty of bushy, mid-story plants to attract birds and the trail has ample shade. I think if one arrives early in the morning, they might see deer, wild turkeys, or armadillos.

On the Spring Grove Trail there are two large sinkholes, and several short footpaths go out to the largest one. When I went down the first footpath, I was warned away by a yellow-jacket. I heeded the warning and found a different route, since yellow-jackets like to nest in embankments near ponds or streams, and I didn’t want to step into a wasps’ nest.

Published by cafsamsel

Carol Fullerton-Samsel is a nearly-native Floridian who lives with her husband of 25 years and three rescue animals. She has a passion for day-hiking and nature, and also enjoys writing. Be sure to visit the TenPaths YouTube channel, which is still in its infancy.

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