If you are looking for a nature expedition, look no further than Gainesville, FL! During your vacation, there is not only an opportunity to relax in the beautiful weather but also to explore. The San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park is a rare example of mature hammock woodland located less than a half hour away from Sweetwater Branch Inn. The park offers outdoor adventure to hikers, off-road bicyclists, horseback riders, and nature lovers. Lose yourself in the quiet solitude of this incredible wilderness.
If you are planning a trip to Gainesville, Florida, our free Vacation Guide can help! We’ve listed all the best recommendations for things to do in the area, like visiting the San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park. Let Sweetwater Branch Inn make vacation planning easier for you!
San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park Hiking
To ensure solitude and quiet for a true wilderness experience, the southern two-thirds of the San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park are designated for hiking only. There are 4 trails for nature viewing and hiking that weave through the park. Each trail is well-marked with different colors, so you should not have a hard time navigating!
Moonshine Creek Trail
The Moonshine Creek Trail is about 1 mile long. It starts out as a sunny forest adventure filled with scattered pines and oaks along a historical creek that once provided moonshine to the area during the Prohibition. As you go deeper, the trail changes dramatically with denser forest and greenery.
Creek Sink Trail
The Creek Sink Trail can be found halfway through the Moonshine Creek Trail. If you choose to take this path, it will increase your hike to 2.3 miles. A walk through this trail will take you around the swamp areas of the forest. See the creek change shape from a body of running water into the wet grounds where it is absorbed.
Spring Grove Trail
The Spring Grove Trail is the longest of the hiking options in San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park. This is the perfect path to see Florida’s famous sinkholes, both dry and water-filled. On your trek, you will walk through shady hammocks, pinelands, and sandhills.
Old Spanish Way
Old Spanish Way has scenery very similar to Spring Grove Trail. You will experience towering trees, lush plants, and most likely wildlife. This trail is named for a 17th-century Spanish mission, San Francisco de Potano, the site of which is located in the eastern section of San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park. Take time to rest by the pond along the trail and revel at the natural beauty of the wilderness around you.
San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park Biking and Equestrian Trails
The northern third of the San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park has trails for horseback riding and off-road cycling. Biking and equestrian trails are separate and well-marked so you will be able to tell the difference! This is arguably the best place to go cross-country biking in all of Florida. The biking trails range from beginner to advanced. You will be able to experience steep drops, strong climbs, and even log crossings! Every winter, the park holds Tour de Felasco. This mountain biking event is not a race, but a test of endurance. Participants can choose from 25-100 mile rides to challenge themselves through the tough terrain.
Stay at Sweetwater Branch Inn
After you have explored San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park, retreat back to Sweetwater Branch Inn to enjoy a relaxing night. Make sure you are back in time for our complimentary wine and cheese hour so you can rest in our beautiful gardens and reminisce about the day’s beautiful scenery. Choose from a variety of comfortable suites and cottages and indulge in our delicious home cooked breakfast every morning. Book your Gainesville adventure today!