Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park

The broad, flat Payne's Prairie basin provides a spectacular vista of freshwater marshes and wet prairies. Pine flatwoods, oak hammocks, and ponds rim the prairie.

Watchable wildlife:
Resident Florida sandhill cranes are joined by thousands of migratory greater sandhill cranes in the winter. Look for great horned owls, red-bellied woodpeckers, bald eagles, northern harriers, and various songbirds as you hike on the Bolen's Bluff loop trail (off U.S. 441) that takes you through a hardwood hammock and then down into the prairie along a grassy berm. Other trails can be accessed through the main park entrance,  as well as the visitor center observation tower and Lake Wauberg. From the observation tower, you may be fortunate enough to see the bison that have been reintroduced to the praire, as well as red-tailed and red-shouldered hawks.

Department of Environmental Protection

(352) 466-3397

From Gainesville, drive south on U.S. 441 across Paynes Prairie basin. Parking for Bolen Bluff Trail is 3.5 miles south of Florida Highway 331 on the east side of U.S. 441.  The Lake Wauberg Recreation Area is 4 miles further south.

Related Sites:
Other North East Florida Wildlife Sites
Florida State Parks

FWC Facts:
Whooping cranes eat aquatic invertebrates (insects, crustaceans and mollusks), small vertebrates (fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals), roots, acorns and berries.

Learn More at AskFWC