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La Chua Trail - Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park - Gainesville, FL
Pictures, a video clip, & visitor info from La Chua Trail in Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park in Gainesville, Florida.

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Camp Ranch Rd. / SE 15th St.
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Paynes Prairie Park Sign
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La Chua Trail Parking Lot

La Chua Trail is by far one of the best places in Gainesville to see dozens of alligators up close and personal. The trail is just a small part of the Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park that covers over 22,000 acres of land in Alachua County, FL.

The parking lot for La Chua Trail is located in the south east corner of the city at 4801 Camp Ranch Rd (SE 15th St.) Gainesville, FL 32641. (GPS users see info below!)

Our Garmin GPS unit mistakenly led us to a dirt road marked "Private" just off Hwy 20 (SE Hawthorne RD) on SE 30th St when using the park's official address above. It is an access point for the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail but located about 7 miles away from the La Chua Trail parking lot.

To avoid that problem, I'd recommend setting your GPS for the intersection of SE 15th St and SE 41st Ave. Then continue  driving straight on SE 15th Street to the park's entrance gate.

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Alachua Sink / La Chua Trail
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La Chua Trail Map
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Paved Walking Path
Visitors are welcome on the La Chua trail from 8 AM to one hour before sunset every day of the year. Pets are not allowed on the trail due to possible conflicts with the alligators, bison, cattle and wild horses that reside in the area. For more information, you can reach the Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park staff by phone at (352) 466-3397.
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Open Range - Bison, Gators
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Tiny Alligator
The walk from the parking lot to the beginning of La Chua trail is a half mile stroll on paved walkways and an elevated boardwalk. Then it's 1.5 miles on a level grassy path to the wildlife observation tower. The total distance of this outing is about 4 miles of easy walking that can be done by most any person in sandals or sneakers.
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Elevated Boardwalk
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Alachua Sink
Just a few of the animal species that can be seen on La Chua Trail or live in the Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park include the American alligator, sandhill cranes, snapping turtles, wild bison, Spanish horses, Ibises, and great blue herons.
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Basking In The Sun
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Some of the other features of Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park include a visitor center, Cones Dike Trail, Chacala Trail, Lake Trail, Bolen Bluff Trail, the Ecopassage Observation Boardwalk, Jackson's Gap Trail, Wacahoota Trail, Sawgrass Pond, Chacala Pond, Lake Wauberg, and the 16 mile paved Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail for bicycles or horses.
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Alligators On Trail
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Gator & Large Bird
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Sandhill Crane
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Alligator Tail
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Adolescent Alligator
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Grassy Walking Path
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Gator With Mouth Open
While admiring the alligators on La Chua Trail, I captured a short video clip of two gators swimming in the water. To view the video, click on the blue link below. To download the video to your hard drive, right click on the link and choose "Save Target As" or "Save Link As".
 

La Chua Trail - Alligators Swimming Video Clip - Gainesville, FL

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Alligator Teeth
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For more of my related photo galleries, click on the following links: Chacala Trail - Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, UF Homecoming Parade, Palm Point Nature Park, UF Gators Vs. USF Bulls, Import Face Off - Gainesville Raceway, UF Gator Gallop, UF Gators Vs. Redhawks, Lakeridge Winery, University of Florida Campus, SW 34th St Graffiti Wall, Gators Vs. Buccaneers Tailgating, Florida Caverns State Park - Marianna, Gators Vs. Canes, Motocross of Marion County, American Heroes Air Show, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, Gainesville Raceway - Test & Tune, Gainesville Show Shine & Sound, Lake Alice, St. Augustine, Devil's Den - Williston, and the Ironwood Golf Course.

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