Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail – Gainesville, Hawthorne – Alachua County, Florida

Before You Go:

There is a lot of shade along the trail.  85% of the trail is tree lined on both sides so you could probably get by without sunscreen.  The western end of the trail is fairly hilly.

Getting There:

I chose to start my adventure from the Hawthorne end of the trail.  There is plenty of parking and the trailhead is much less used than its counterpart Boulware Springs Trailhead in Gainesville.  Either traveling north or south on U.S. Highway 301 to the town of Hawthorne, travel west on West Lake Avenue, head south on North Johnson Street, turn west on 71st Avenue and, finally, turn south on Southwest 3rd Street.  Southwest 3rd Street dead-ends into the trailhead parking.

Trail Length

Just shy of 32 miles.  A loop from the Hawthorne Trailhead to the Boulware Springs Trailhead and back to Hawthorne.

The Trail

The trail bed is showing signs of wear.  Mainly due to tree roots growing under the trail-bed.  As you approach Gainesville, you will right through the hills and curves section of the trail.  It should prove an excellent challenge to coastal riders who are used to the relatively flat and straight corridors.  That is another one of the reasons I chose to ride from the Hawthorne Trailhead.  I didn’t want to start and end a session but, rather, preferred to make the hilly section part of the middle of the ride.

Check out the links and pictures below.


  • I only noticed 1 area with a restroom along the route.  Unfortunately, I didn’t make note of its location but it appears along the south side of the trail closer to the Gainesville trailhead.

The Cons:

  • Those that find hills taxing will likely view the hills as a con rather than a pro 🙂
  • Some cyclists, in the hills and curves section, were not mindful of cyclists traveling in the opposite direction.  There are limited site lines along this portion of the trail.  Cycle pro-actively.
  • There are a few sections of the trail-bed that are a little rough in spots as you near Gainesville.

The Pros:

  • The hills I mentioned above.
  • There are curves built into the trail which is a nice change from the mostly arrow-straight trails that abound in Florida.
  • The cutoff to the overlook of Lake Alachua (not actually a lake – more a savannah or prairie).
  • The scenery.


Send me an email. I would love to hear from you!

Happy Trails ~ John