North Flordia’s San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park is more than just a great place to hike, bike, and horseback riding. The park is the site of a historic Spanish mission, limestone sinkholes, and one of the few remaining mature forests in Florida.
San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park is well known for its hiking and mountain biking opportunities. In fact, the park’s 30 miles of bike trails have made it one of Florida’s top mountain biking destinations. But that’s just one tiny aspect of this amazing North Florida park.
What many visitors may not realize is that the park has a long and fascinating history – from the ground up!
San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park’s unique karst geology riddles the area with hundreds of limestone pools and sinkholes. Nearby Warren’s Cave provides a dry look under the earth while all the park’s known stone pockets serve as drainage.
This unique karst topography of hills, valleys, and limestone outcrops provides ideal conditions for many species of trees and plants that you’ll not find any farther south. Bobcats, white-tailed deer, gray foxes, turkeys, and a variety of songbirds make the park their home. It’s a wonderful place to see and photograph wildlife and wildflowers.
When it comes to human history, San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park is known to have been used by Native Americans for thousands of years. Artifacts continue to be found in the park that can be dated back to at least 8,000 B.C.!
The area is also thought to be the site of a late 17th-century Spanish mission, San Francisco de Potano. “Potano” being the name of the natives living in the area at the time of the Spanish settlement. San Francisco de Potano was one of the very first missions established in the New World. The park was also the scene of a battle during the Second Seminole War.
Today, the park is primarily used for preservation and recreation, with trails for hiking, horseback riding, and off-road cycling. Most of these activities are restricted to the northern section of the park. This section of the park includes 10 miles of equestrian trails and 20 miles of mountain bike trails. Hikers are allowed to use any of the trail system for hiking. The north end of the park also offers a hand launched glider field for RC enthusiasts.
The southern two-thirds of the park are designated for foot traffic only, with three primary hiking trails. Each trail is marked with its own color for clarity. The main, hiking-only trailhead is located on State Road 232 about four miles northwest of Gainesville. The main horseback and biking trailheads can be found just south of Alachua off US Highway 441.
San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park
Open 8am until sunset, daily
12720 NW 109 Lane, Alachua, FL 32615
Learn more about San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park by visiting it online.
San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park Lodging
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