About three weeks ago I was driving around looking for Clear Lake Nature Park when I noticed a dead end that didn’t look so dead. Moving in for a closer look, I realized that I had come across a nature park, which, to me, translates to: running trails.
The park I had accidentally stumbled upon was Green Acres Nature Park, located at SW 38th Street and 6th Place. If exact addresses aren’t your thing, the park is tucked behind residential neighborhoods a few blocks south of where University Avenue turns into West Newberry Road.
Now, my first visit was brief, and I left pretty much unimpressed. Shame on me. By now I should know not to judge a Gainesville park by its cover.
Revisiting the park yesterday, I was blown away by how beautiful and pristine GANP really is. I knew this place was special when I came across this magnificent path:
It’s amazing how far away from the busyness of daily life you can feel only five minutes from campus.
Here’s a slideshow of a few pictures I took of the park:
At its center is an open field with a communal garden at one end. Past the open field is a trail about the width of a normal road, which leads to the magnificent path shown above.
Here’s a two-minute video I shot in the middle of that spectacular path:
Follow the path to its end, and you will emerge at the neighborhoods surrounding Clear Lake.
At the park’s entrance, on SW 38th Street, are some pretty well-shaded trails. One in particular, on your left as you enter the park, traverses at least a mile of some of the undeveloped land behind Calico Jack’s.
I think this park is a gem for students living along 34th Street. If you live in the area of the Publix on 34th Street and University Avenue, a short warm-up jog (half mile) will get you to the park entrance.
Moreover, Green Acres Nature Park is a great place to take your dog, and it’s obvious from the trails that mountain bikers, too, frequent the park. However, you’ll want to bring your own water because the park’s water fountain was not working as of September 1.
I’ll end by noting that I, once again, did not see a single other runner in the park in the hour or so that I spent wandering around. I can’t complain, but I also think many runners are missing out on all that Gainesville has to offer.
Green Acres Nature Park – da da da da da – da da!