While not a mountain bike trail in the traditional sense, Boulware Springs Park Trail warrants attention for its unique offerings. With over 16 miles of paved, car-free riding through what is described as a lush environment, this local favorite in Gainesville offers a relaxed cycling experience.
Primarily flat, the trail does feature a few areas of gradual elevation change to keep things interesting. Contrary to some impressions, riders won't find swamps but rather what is often described as a scenic forest setting. Whether it qualifies as "forest" or "typical central Florida scenery" might depend on your perspective, but the consensus is that it's a beautiful ride.
To reach the trail, start from University Ave in Gainesville, head east to the far end of the city, and then take a right fork onto Hawthorne Road. A quick right turn onto SE 15th St will lead you to Boulware Springs Park on the right. The park serves as one of several trailheads, offering convenient access.
Riders have shared varied opinions on this trail. While it doesn't offer the technical challenges that dedicated mountain bikers may seek, it's an accessible option for amateur cyclists, families, or those looking for an undemanding road ride. One criticism, however, is that after a couple of miles of somewhat scenic riding, the trail turns into a flat and straight stretch, which some riders found monotonous.
Boulware Springs Park Trail presents itself as a worthy addition to Gainesville's cycling scene for those who know what to expect. Its 16-mile length allows for decent mileage, and its mostly flat terrain is welcoming for riders of all levels. It may lack the technical thrills of a mountain bike trail, but for those seeking a laid-back ride in a beautiful setting, this trail won't disappoint.