Hidden close to the center of Gainesville, the trail colloquially known as "Homeless Hills" offers a solid mountain biking experience in a compact package. Covering approximately 3 miles and featuring an array of obstacles and terrains, this trail manages to provide a delightful ride for intermediate cyclists.
Though short, Homeless Hills features enough undulating terrain to make the ride engaging. In addition to sandy sections—typical for Florida—the trail also features a variety of obstacles. Expect tight turns, a smattering of log crossings, and some root-infested sections, especially near the Hawthorne Trail, that will keep you on your toes.
For those coming from I-75, exit at 382 and head north on 121 (Williston Rd) towards Gainesville. After about 4 miles, turn right onto SE 16th Ave. You'll find the trailhead awaiting at the end of the street.
Bikers who've tried the trail vouch for its diverse features despite its short distance. It has been noted that while the trail starts fairly easy, it quickly morphs into a more challenging experience with some rigorous climbs and descents. For those looking to build up stamina for longer rides, Homeless Hills serves as a perfect training ground.As of recent, part of the trail was closed for bridge construction. Therefore, it may be worth waiting a bit for the full experience. The trail seems to have something for everyone—from those who enjoy navigational challenges due to roots and tight turns to those who relish short but respectable climbs.
Known as Homeless Hills due to the presence of some homeless camps in the vicinity, it may be best to ride this trail in groups or during busy hours for an added layer of safety.
Though Homeless Hills may not be the longest or the most challenging trail out there, it's a worthy addition to your riding repertoire. Its variety in terrain and features make it an excellent spot for building up cycling stamina and skills. Definitely worth a visit if you're in the Gaines