Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
HABITAT RESTORATION IN PROGRESS
Effective July 24, 2023: Longleaf pine restoration has begun at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. This project includes forestry work along the main entrance of the park as well as sections of U.S. Highway 441. Please adhere to posted signage and avoid closed areas.
Welcome to Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
Far from the Far West, herds of wild horses and bison roam the prairie in this surprisingly diverse preserve south of Gainesville.
Paynes Prairie is unique in many ways. Nowhere else in Florida can visitors experience wild-roaming bison and horses. Nearly 300 species of birds also frequent the park along with alligators, deer and many other animals.
The park’s eight trails, including the 16-mile paved Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail, allow one to explore the park’s interior and observe wildlife, while a 50-foot high observation tower provides for panoramic views.
Fishing and canoeing on Lake Wauburg are popular along with a shaded campground. During a visit to Paynes Prairie, one can easily understand why Seminole Indians once occupied a village along this vast savannah.
Plan Your Visit
Paynes Prairie Visitor Center
Hiking Trails and Recreation at the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail
Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park Photo Gallery
More than 20 distinct biological communities provide a rich array of habitats for wildlife and livestock, including alligators, bison, horses and nearly 300 species of birds.
Eight trails provide opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, and bicycling, including the 16 mile long, paved Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail.
Wild Places of Paynes Prairie
People Make the Parks
More Places You Might Like
Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park
6239 State Road 21
Keystone Heights FL 32656
Crystal River Preserve State Park
3266 N. Sailboat Ave.
Crystal River FL 34428