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Sweetwater Wetlands

Birding / Hiking / Adventuring Roadtrip Info


Nov 2021
 Typical view [?]
Photo Galleries
Typical View (11)

Snapshots! (24)
GRADES: Click each for info, * = Note
How Big Not Rated
Importance Not Rated
Revisit? B
Birding B
Wildlife B
Summer Heat F *
Terrain B
Fun Hike Not Rated
Maintained Not Rated
Mosquitos C
Biting Files A
Ticks B
NOTE: Keep it short in summer
 LOCATION: Accuracy: Read me
Map On Big Map: Click map (or on google maps). Address: 325 SW Williston Rd, Gainesville, FL, Alachua, USA, 32601

1) What It's Like

A man made wetlands meant to filter sewage like Orlando Wetlands or Vierra Wetlands. Raised trails around ponds with a lot of birds in and around them. This one is less impressive and they charge a lot to get in (others are free).

2) Kinds of Birds

Anything can show up here really. You'll always seen gallinules, anhinga, herons/egrets, and shorebirds. Usually Limpkin, Cardinal, glossy ibis, wood stork, whistling ducks and other ducks. Often red shouldered hawk. Odd balls that come to mind seen here for us: bobolink, bufflehead duck,

3) Wildlife

While the prairie is flooded at least there's a good chance of wild horses. Somewhat large alligators cross the trails though they stay out of the way. Large and varied snakes though not so many venomous.

4) Amenities

Bathrooms. A lot of whiteboards.

5) Dear Ranger

Orlando Wetlands is much bigger than your park and they charge nothing. Most large local parks charge nothing - some 2$... but they are often massive. Love to see what you're doing with all that cash. But what the place is - is a bunch of raised trails surrounding ponds with water plants that soak up the sewage. There's ZERO cover so it's very very hot in summer.

6) Time Requirements

It seems the ponds closest to the front have the most to see but you could probably spend 1-2 hours if you strolled around everything taking lots of pictures. Or you could stop for 10 minutes and still see quite a bit.


First thing you're confronted with when arriving is a big fee - $5. Weird because they're filtering sewage and other parks that do the same thing but much larger charge nothing. That said - it's similar to Orlando Wetlands or Vierra Wetlands but smaller and with fewer birds. Those places are fantastic however so there is still good birding to be had here.

The basic layout of these things is raised trails/berms around ponds that pump water between each other where plants grow to soak up the sewage. Birds love that kind of thing so you tend to see a lot of birds.

It's connected to Payne's Prairie where wild horses and bison live. After hurricane Irma the sink that drained the prairie was clogged with debris and for all of 2018 so far the Prairie has turned into a lake. SO - the last couple times we've been through here a family of half a dozen wild horses has been wandering around.

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