Review of La Chua Trail at Paynes Prairie State Park

Hello readers! Today I’m reviewing La Chua Trail at Paynes Prairie State Park (located in Gainesville, FL). This is a wonderful accessible trail that is perfect for birding and appreciating the natural landscapes and wildlife of central Florida – I even saw a wild bison! This trail is just a small part of Paynes Prairie State Park and there are lots of other trails that I haven’t been on, but if you want a trail that is for sure accessible, this is one of them.

Park Address:
4801 Camp Ranch Rd
Gainesville, FL 32641

Park Hours:
8 am – Sundown

$4 per vehicle
$2 for cyclists and hikers

The Trail

The entire trail is 3 miles round trip, with three different trail types: concrete, wooden boardwalk, and grass. From the parking lot, the trail is concrete sidewalk that leads through an underpass, and an old cattle barn. There is only one accessible parking spot in the lot, with the rest of the spots being made of gravel.

Once you pass through the old barn, you reach the boardwalk, the boardwalk takes you around the small body of water and to a covered observation deck with benches and informational posters.

The covered observation deck is the perfect spot to relax, eat lunch or a snack, and search for gators and birds in and around the pond. There were sooo many gators when I went!

The end of the boardwalk is just past the covered observation deck and leads to a grassy trail that is relatively smooth and the soil is packed. The grassy trail is not very long, and at the end is a small retaining wall in the water where gators and lots of different birds like to sit and eat. I even saw a bison (from pretty far away) at the end of the grassy trail – so cool!

What You Can See

This is a perfect spot to observe Florida wildlife, you can see all kinds of birds (hawks, sandhill crane, heron, etc), there are tons of alligators everywhere, there are even wild bison and horses.

Because of the amount of wildlife and the dangers that they pose, it is important to note that dogs are not allowed, even on a leash.


There is one portable restroom close to the parking lot. Getting into the restroom might be difficult as the platform is small relative to the door. The inside was roomy though, and pretty dirty, which is kind of expected in port-a-potties.


I thought this was a great little trail to stroll at any time of day. The majority of the trail is completely accessible and the covered observation deck gives you shade on those hot and sunny Florida days. If you want to get a good feel for Florida and the wildlife is has to offer, this is a great spot to check out!


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