Hidden and Shaded Gainesville Trails: 29th Road Nature Park

Looking for a shady spot to run this weekend?

Well, there are only two days left in July, our nation’s under-celebrated Park and Recreation Month.  Why not take an hour this weekend to explore the 29th Road Nature Park?

Photo by Benjamin Markus

The park is tucked cozily behind the McDonald’s on 13th Street(441) and Northwest 29th Road.  Here’s a Google map of the area:

I will warn you, these trails are challenging.  Bikers use them more than runners, and there are some odd elevation changes and careful steps required.  To be honest, every step requires care on trails like these so don’t be afraid to take it s..l..o..w.

Entering the 29th Road Nature Park from behind McDonald’s takes you through trails on the east side of the creek that divides the park.  The foliage is pretty dense, cooling the area some 10 or 15 degrees.  When you’re removed from the entrance and standing in the middle of the park surrounded by only trees and animals, you might as well be in a South American forest.

Here’s a one-minute video I shot about 5 minutes down a trail:

When you’ve fully explored the east side of the creek, you might find yourself coming out of the trails at Northwest 29th Road.  Head just a few yards northwest on the road to find entrances for the west side of the creek.

Trails head north on the west side of the creek for what looks like miles.  The scenery, including the trails tracing the bank of the creek, is beautiful here.

Photo by Benjamin Markus

Photo by Benjamin Markus

Photo by Benjamin Markus


When you’ve had enough, if you would rather not rerun the east side of the creek, you can retrace your steps back to Northwest 29th Road and continue southeast to 13th Street and the McDonald’s parking lot, or wherever it is you have parked, ridden or walked from.

Here are a few more things you’ll want to remember before you tackle the 29th Road Nature Park:

  • Bring your own water – you won’t find any potable water out on the trails.
  • Bring bug spray – because it’s no fun getting swarmed when you stop to rest.
  • Have a way to make noise – in case you get lost, hurt or both.
  • Soak in your surroundings – the park is very peaceful but also vibrant with animal activity.  Take some time to stop, listen and observe.

Good luck and happy running!


About Benjamin Markus

I am a 32-year-old runner living in Gainesville, FL.
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2 Responses to Hidden and Shaded Gainesville Trails: 29th Road Nature Park

  1. so helpful! I’ve been wanting to check out running trails, but didn’t even know where to start. 🙂 and shade is a major plus!

    • markusben says:

      Thanks for reading, Ginny! How’s your running going? Sounds like you’re still at it, which is what it’s all about.
      Definitely give this one a try. You can park at McDonald’s and walk right over. Just be careful – the terrain can be a little rough.

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