Paul's Travel Pictures

Chacala Trail - Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park - Micanopy, FL
Pictures, a video clip, and visitor info from the Chacala Trail in Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park in Micanopy, Florida.

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Paul B. Michaels
Author & Photographer
Auto Mechanic Since 1989

US Highway 441
Paynes Prairie Sign
Wildlife Crossing Sign
Chacala Trail is a peaceful hiking path through mostly pineland within the Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park in Micanopy, FL.

The official distance of Chacala Trail is 6.5 miles but you could walk as few as 2 miles or as many as 8 miles round trip. There are three loops or "blazes" named Chacala Yellow, White and Blue.

The quickest route to arrive at the scenic view of Chacala Pond is a 4 mile round trip stroll past lettered posts "A", "J", "H", "G", left on F at the .3 mile spur and then back.

Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is located a short ten miles south of Gainesville on the east side of US 441 at 100 Savannah Blvd, Micanopy, FL 32667.

Visitors are welcome in the park every day of the year from 8 AM to sunset. The entrance fee is just $6 per vehicle with up to eight people inside. Annual passes are available. To reach the park rangers by phone, call (352) 466-3397.

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Chacala Trail Sign
Visitor Center - Puggy Rd.
Some of the creatures that can be seen on the Chacala trail include armadillos, hawks, woodpeckers, wild turkey, bald eagles, turtles, gopher tortoises, and butterflies. You may also run into a few wriggling green "hanging caterpillars" that are suspended by a thin filament from a tree branch.
Chacala Trail Info Sign
Chacala Pond, Jackson's Gap
Other paths in the park accessible from the main entrance are  the Wacahoota Trail, Cones Dike Trail, Jackson's Gap Trail, and Lake Trail. The Visitor Center (9 AM to 4 PM) is also located near the main entrance of the park where you can enjoy a variety of exhibits and the view from a 50 foot high observation tower.
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Once you've explored all of the trails near the main entrance of Paynes Prairie, you can visit other parts of the 22,000+ acre park such as Bolen Bluff Trail off Hwy 441, the Ecopassage Observation Boardwalk (Hwy 441), the 16 mile paved Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail popular with bicyclists, and La Chua Trail in Gainesville at SE 15th St. If you'd like to see alligators up close, I'd highly recommend checking out the La Chua Trail. (No pets allowed on La Chua for obvious reasons.)
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Just a few of the recreational activities possible in Paynes Prairie Park include hiking, bicycling, fishing, boating (electric motors only), canoeing, camping, horse riding, picnicking, and wildlife viewing.
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Black & Red Spider
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Chacala Pond Spur
Swamp Area
Bench By Pond
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Chacala Pond
While walking the Chacala Trail, I captured a few videos and later edited them together into one short clip. It includes one of the interesting green hanging caterpillars that we encountered on the path. To view the video clip, click on the blue link below. To download the video to your hard drive, right click on the link and choose "Save Target As" or "Save Link As".

Chacala Trail Video Clip - Walking & Hanging Caterpillar - Paynes Prairie Park

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Hanging Caterpillar
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Picnic Tables
Parking Lot
For more of my related photo galleries, click on the following links: La Chua Trail - Paynes Prairie Preserve Park, UF Homecoming Parade, Palm Point Nature Park, UF Gators Vs. USF Bulls, Import Face Off - Gainesville Raceway, UF Gator Gallop, UF Gators Vs. Redhawks, Lakeridge Winery, University of Florida Campus, SW 34th St Graffiti Wall, Gators Vs. Buccaneers Tailgating, Florida Caverns State Park - Marianna, Gators Vs. Canes, Motocross of Marion County, American Heroes Air Show, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, Gainesville Raceway - Test & Tune, Gainesville Show Shine & Sound, Lake Alice, St. Augustine, Devil's Den - Williston, and the Ironwood Golf Course.

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