Hike through Sweetwater Wetlands Park

Sweetwater Wetlands Park

Sweetwater Wetlands Park features 3.5 miles of walking trails, including a wooden boardwalk section that meanders through a living wetland. This area is full of plants and animals; including birds, butterflies, and alligators. There are 10 marked scenic overlook locations perfect for photography and bird watching. Near the entrance is a covered pavilion perfect for a quick snack and opportunity to use the parks bathroom facilities.

Sweetwater Wetlands Park is over 125 acres of wetlands and ponds that were created to help improve the quality of water contained in the Paynes Prairie wetlands and the Florida aquifer. This initiative by the city of Gainesville has led to improved water quality as well as a place for people to connect with nature in a serene setting.

As you first approach the location off of Williston Rd you will come across a pay station.  The price is $2.00 per pedestrian or $5.00 per vehicle. Tip: If you are a disabled Veteran you can request a free park pass through the Gainesville Park and Recreation located downtown. 

After parking, you will first come across the welcome pavilion which has restrooms,  water fountains, and informational handouts about the park. Pay close attention to the white board located in the pavilion which list animals that have been observed that day by previous explorers. This area also has a sign which tells the closing time of the park which correlates with that day's anticipated sunset. 

The 3.5 miles are divided into 3 separate loops which allows smaller sections to be explored without committing to the whole hike. These shorter hikes are perfect for families with small children. 

Be aware there are alligators that enjoy sunning right off the path so pets are not allowed at this park. 

Pack List

  • Water Bottle
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Spray
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera
  • Good company and a appetite for adventure
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RT Distance 3.5 Miles
Activities Chillin, Photography, Running, Hiking, Fitness
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Loop
Features
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
Handicap Accessible
Lake
Picnic Area
Romantic
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Wonderful place.

I absolutely love this place. There are so many birds and other wildlife. I was lucky enough to see the wild horses when I went. There’s a baby there right now!! It’s also very accessible, which is a total bonus!!


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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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