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Paynes Prairie La Chua

Birding / Hiking / Adventuring Roadtrip Info


Mar 2018
 Typical view [?]
Photo Galleries
Typical View (17)

Snapshots! (5)
GRADES: Click each for info, * = Note
Revisit? B
Birding B
Wildlife A *
Summer Heat D
Terrain B *
Fun Hike B
Maintained A
Mosquitos D
Biting Files Not Rated
Ticks C
NOTE: Bison possible
NOTE: Boardwalk vs on prairie
 LOCATION: Accuracy: Read me
Map On Big Map: Click map (or on google maps). Address: 4270 SE 15th St, Gainesville, FL, Alachua, USA, 32641

1) What It's Like

A boardwalk over pretty spectacular muck full of wading birds. You can see the spot where water from Paynes Prairie drains into the Florida aquifer but as of this writing it's been blocked up with hurricane Irma debris.

2) Kinds of Birds

We saw wading birds mostly, some grebes, killdeer, random warblers but not a ton.

3) Wildlife

If I was looking for big alligators I'd probably start here. If it wasn't flooded you might spot the wild horses and bison. Anything could be around but while flooded I wouldn't expect you could run into much.

4) Amenities

Pretty signs about our cattle history. I don't think there were bathrooms but it's a quick drive to get to gas stations. Also a nice boardwalk.

5) Time Requirements

Probably a half hour.


Paynes Prairie is normally a prairie. But it's like a bathtub with a drain - called a sink. If it plugs up with debris or if it rains a huge amount the prairie becomes a shallow lake. It happened from 1871 to 1891 and they used steamboats to cross it. It's happening again now - it's been flooded (as of the end of 2018) since hurricane Irma in 2017. I'm guessing debris is blocking the sink. SO - the point to all this is that we visited while it was flooded. There are several Paynes Prairie trails - this is a boardwalk near the sink. Normally the boardwalk peters out and  you walk on prairie but it doesn't go far and the large alligators here like to hang out where you'd be walking. It's a popular spot and there are some good birding sights to see here though it's a bit short due to the flooding. The way in you walk through a cattle barn and leftovers of a place the railroad would pick up cattle back when Florida was a big free range cattle ranch. Which personally I think isn't really history worth celebrating.

It's a fun quick stop.

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