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Sweetwater Preserve

Birding / Hiking / Adventuring Roadtrip Info


Nov 2018
 Typical view [?]
Photo Galleries
Typical View (10)
GRADES: Click each for info, * = Note
How Big Not Rated
Importance Not Rated
Revisit? C
Birding D
Wildlife B
Summer Heat A
Terrain B *
Fun Hike C *
Maintained B *
Mosquitos D
Biting Files A *
Ticks C
NOTE: Not totally flat but trails are in good shape
NOTE: I'm sure the diapers replenish themselves from the storm drains so I wouldn't assume it's a maintenace issue
NOTE: Could be here but saw none (wrong season)
 LOCATION: Accuracy: Read me
Map On Big Map: Click map (or on google maps). Address: 309 SE 16th Ave, Gainesville, FL, Alachua, USA, 32601

1) What It's Like

It's a nice little wilderness in Gainesville. Popular with hikers and joggers. It has a creek going through it but there's a lot of trash - plastic, diapers, etc clinging to the sides. You almost think "oh how pretty - I want to cool my feet in there" - then you see the diapers. Squint and you'll enjoy it more.

2) Kinds of Birds

Ones that like wading around diapers. Not really - also birds love sewage. We heard some but didn't really see much.

3) Wildlife

Did't see any prints but it's close enough to Paynes Prairie etc so you might get deer etc.

4) Amenities

Nothing. Nice trailhead sign and parking which is all that's needed here really. Gas stations are close by.

5) Directions

You turn right off a road that just stops. Sign is pretty obvious, cars likely parked along this non-road road.

6) Dear Ranger

You should organize a diaper dash - people compete to collect the most diapers from the creek and win a prize.

7) Time Requirements

We spent 40 minutes walking until we hit an edge and back but looking at map of trails available I'd say you could spend 3 hours doing every trail if you wanted. The creek is pretty close to the entrance and there is a bridge 10 minutes in - I think those are the only landmarks you might want to see specifically.


It's a pretty dark enclosed oak forest - very pleasant walk. There is a creek that goes under the streets in Gainesville - they often turn city creeks into sewer tunnels. Trouble is that there's a lot of garbage despite otherwise looking clear and pretty. A fair amount of poison ivy. Didn't notice any more birds here than at any other forest like this... so not a lot. Lots of locals (UF students mostly) so alone time with a bit of friendly comradery here. Worth stopping if you're in the area maybe but it wouldn't be a big shame to miss it.

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All images and data © 2016-2024 Andrew Thoreson unless otherwise noted.