Hiking trails into the heart of the protected preserve are located at the main entrance, along the south edge of the preserve. The hiking trails cut through numerous changes in elevation to take you through sinks, upland forests, and prairies. For directions to the hiking trailhead at the south entrance of the park, click Directions to hiking trailhead for a printable PDF file. The following is a link to a map of the hiking trail system followed by a brief description of each trail.
Map of Hiking Trails north of Millhopper road
Map of Hiking Trails south of Millhopper road
Moonshine Creek Trail
Moonshine Creek is located entirely within the preserve. It is formed from a series of seeps just north of Millhopper Road. The creek meanders through a ravine until draining into the aquifer through a swallow at its southern end. The creek got its name during prohibition where it was the site of a moonshine still providing illegal alcohol to citizens of Alachua County.
The Moonshine Creek Trail begins at the parking lot off Millhopper Road. The trail is approximately one mile long. The beginning of the trail
passes through sunny pine forests dominated by turkey oak, slash pine, spruce pine, and wiregrass. The trail makes a dramatic change as you enter the ravine.
The canopy here is dominated by slash, loblolly, and spruce pines, oaks, hickories, gums, and magnolia. Spotted throughout are sink holes. This is a good example of a mesic mixed hardwood forest.
Creek Sink Trail
The start of Creek Sink Trail is halfway through the Moonshine Creek Trail. Taking this trail will increase your hike to 2.3 miles. This trail goes around the swamps and bottomland forest where the waters of the creek, at the southernmost part of the trail, are absorbed into the underlying aquifer.
Spring Grove Trail (yellow blazes)
This 5.6 mile trail goes through shady hammocks, pinelands, and sandhills. Along the way, you will see both dry and water filled sinkholes. This trail is named after the town of Spring Grove, which in the early 1800's was the county seat of Alachua County. The actual site of Spring Grove is no longer known, but it is thought to have been located somewhere in this area. The Hammock cutoff (green blazes) shortens the trail to 3.8 miles. The Sandhills cutoff (red blazes) shortens the trail to 5.1 miles.
Old Spanish Way (blue blazes)
This 4.8 mile trail goes through sandy hammocks, pinelands, and flatwoods. You will see many sinkholes and ponds and will pass through an area of pineland that's currently being restored to its natural condition after being devastated by a southern pine beetle infestation several years ago. This trail is named for a 17th century spanish mission, San Francisco de Potano, the site of which is located in the eastern section of San Felasco Hammock Preserve state park.