What we’re about
Sandhill Chapter of the Florida Trail Association
Welcome to the Sandhill Chapter of the Florida Trail Association's Meetup page!
The Sandhill Chapter is a community of Florida Trail Association members in the following counties: Alachua, Marion, Levy, and Gilchrist. We have activity leaders that plan hikes, provide outdoor skills workshops, trail maintenance, and community events in our region.
To become a member of the Florida Trail Association, please visit https://floridatrail.org/
To read more about our chapter and visit our official social media accounts, please visit this link and scroll to Sandhill Chapter: https://floridatrail.org/our-chapters/
While most events are open to everyone, some events are only available to Florida Trail Association members. We encourage everyone to become members and support the nonprofit responsible for developing, maintaining, protecting, and promoting a network of hiking trails throughout the state.
Meetup is a way for us to advertise our events and strengthen our community.
If you have any questions, please message admins Leo Dugger or Ashley Kusel.
Upcoming events (4)See all
- Sweetwater Preserve Morning HikeSweetwater Preserve, Gainesville, FL
Name of Hike: Sweetwater Preserve
Date: Saturday, Sept 23, 2023. Cancelled if thunderstorms in area.
Location: Sweetwater Preserve Trailhead parking lot, 309 SE 16th Ave, Gainesville,
Do NOT go to Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail (GHT) terminus at Boulware Springs on SE 15th St. Not to be confused with Sweetwater Wetlands Park just south of the preserve. Cost is Free.
Time: Meet at 7:45 AM .Be ready to walk at 8:00 am.
Leader: Maria Fiedler.
Description: This will be ~3.0-mile loop hike, adding the portion of GHT to Sweetwater Overlook onto Paynes Prairie and return to SE 16th Ave trailhead. “The preserve enables hikers to explore eight different habitats along the forested bluffs above Paynes Prairie.” Lovely quiet, green forested trail. “Protecting 125 acres of watershed along Sweetwater Branch, Sweetwater Preserve is broken into two distinct parts by this waterway flowing out of Gainesville.”
Directions: Heading northeast on Williston RD (331)/ SW 13th(US 441) go past Sweetwater Wetlands Park and continue Williston Road to Sweetwater Preserve. The trailhead entrance is on the right at traffic signal.
General Information: Dress to comfort and bring water/snack per preference. Prepare for a walk in the woods. Bug Spray advised. This will be a quiet voice walk.
Bathrooms: Port a pot at Boulware Springs GHT trailhead.
Dogs allowed: Not for our hike.
Restricted to 20 FTA members only. If not an FTA member you may join before the hike by phone 877-HIKE-FLA or online at www.floridatrail.org/join
- FTA Ichetucknee River State Park Paddle North Park EntranceIchtucknee Springs State Park North Entrance, Fort White , FL
FTA Activity: Ichetucknee Springs River Paddle/Swim at State Park North Entrance.
Leader(s): Maria Fiedler
Date: Monday, 9/25/2023. Meet me at the Boat Launch parking lot at 2:00pm to sign in and plan. We will be paddling down from the north end to Midpoint and paddling back up to north end. The river current is running 3-5 mph. Per group choice, we may swim at the spring after our paddle at the head springs.
Location: Ichetucknee SP North Entrance, 8294 SW Elim Church Rd, Fort White, FL 32038 The Boat Launch parking lot is past the main parking lot. Ask the Gate attendant for further directions. The North boat launch of the river is restricted to paddling only. NO tubing is allowed at any time from the north boat launch.
Leader(s): Maria Fiedler
Description: Let’s paddle, kayak, canoe or paddle board Ichetucknee Springs River. It’s a beautiful clear, cool 72 degrees spring fed river. The great way to cool off outdoors and observe the natural scenery.
Directions: Depends on where you are driving from, follow map directions to Ichetucknee SP North Entrance.
General Information: This activity is for seasoned paddlers and strong swimmers only with their own equipment.
General admission $6 per vehicle. Limit 2-8 people/vehicle. $4 Single Occupant Vehicle. OR with your FL State Park Pass.
Dogs allowed: No
Restricted to: Adults over 18. Experienced paddlers with strong swimming skills. FTA members only 20 participants. If not a member and would like to join us call 877-HIKE-FLA or join online at www.floridatrail.org/join.
- FTA Thursday Evening Hike at Devils Millhopper State ParkDevil's Millhopper Geological State Park, Gainesville, FL
FTA Tuesday Evening Hike at Devil’ Millhopper Geological State Park
Date: Thursday September 28, 2023. Cancelled if thunderstorms in the area.
Leader: Maria Fiedler
Location: 4732 Millhopper Rd, Gainesville, FL.
Directions: Head north on NW 43rd St in GNV , turn left onto NW 53rd Ave, Millhopper Road, to park entrance less than ½ mile on the right.
Time: Arrive at 5:30 pm to sign in at the parking lot after paying the admission fee ($4.00 per vehicle, up to 8. $2.00 per pedestrian/bicyclists). OR use your current FL State Park Pass.
Be ready to walk at 5:45 pm.
Description: “This National Natural Landmark (in 1976) has attracted curious visitors since 1880s. In the midst of North Florida sandy terrain and pine forests, a bowl-shaped cavity 120 feet deep leads down to a miniature rain forest…”. “…perfect place to escape the lights and noise of the city and experience nature!” Park Manager’s message. A new sink hole boardwalk was completed in June 2019.
General Information: Dress to comfort and bring water/snack per preference. Prepare for a walk in the woods and walk down to the 120-foot-deep sink hole, 132 steps and back up. We will then walk around the perimeter of this sink hole on the upper perimeter trail~1 mile. We may repeat the steps for those who choose to participate while others await at the top. This will be a quiet voice walk.
Dogs allowed: Not for our hike.
Restricted to: 20 FTA members . Not a member? Call 877-HIKE-FLA or join online at www.floridatrail.org/join.
- Sandhill Chapter Membership MeetingMillhopper Branch | Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, FL
The Florida Trail Association Sandhill Chapter is having a general membership meeting at the Millhopper Library in Gainesville,FL.
Darby Guyn from the City of Gainesville's Sweetwater Wetlands Park will be our guest speaker.
There will also be discussion on future chapter activities, training, events and a report on Florida Trail conditions post Hurricane Idalia.
We have a lot to catch up on, Hope you will join us.