Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
Habitat Restoration In Progress
Effective May 6, 2022: Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is restoring the upland pine habitat at the south area of the park. For safety reasons, the Chacala Trail will be closed while crews are operating heavy equipment. The long-term restoration project includes removing hardwoods and stumps and burning the piles of woody debris. Longleaf pines and native wiregrass will be planted during this time. We apologize for the inconvenience.
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
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