Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail
Along the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail
A view along the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail

Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail runs for 16 miles along an abandoned railroad bed between Gainesville and Hawthorne. The western terminus is at Gainesville's Boulware Springs Park, the eastern terminus at 2182 SE 71st Avenue in Hawthorne. In between, the route crosses Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park and then runs along the northern edge of Grove Park Wildlife Management Area, part of the greater Lochloosa Wildlife Conservation Area (Grove Park WMA is primarily a conservation easement on Plum Creek Lumber Company property that is managed jointly by Plum Creek, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and the St. Johns River Water Management District).

Hiking, biking and rollerblading are allowed the entire length of the trail. Horseback riding is allowed only west of the Lochloosa Trailhead (off of CR 2082 west of Hawthorne). Fishing is permitted on the bridges across Lochloosa and Prairie Creeks. Well behaved pets are allowed the entire length of the trail as long as they are restrained on a leash no longer than six feet.

The Boulware Springs Trailhead is at a Gainesville city park, which means access is allowed November through April from 8 am to 6 pm and from May through October from 8 am to 8 pm. The Paynes Prairie portion of the trail is on a state park: use is allowed from 8 am to sunset every day of the year. The rest of the trail is always open. There are no access fees involved.