This was my first (and only) gator experience in Florida.  A couple days after getting there, I finally stopped laying around and we went to the La Chua Trail in Paynes Prairie State Park.  I was excited to finally see gators!

We set off on the short hike and I was immediately fascinated by the moss on the trees.  Yes.  The moss.  I’ve never seen moss on trees like that before and I love it.  Moss aside, the trail was really nice.  We saw a fair number of other people, but nothing too crazy.  The trail is 3 miles round-trip, but it’s flat, so it’s perfect for anyone and everyone.

This is a great place to see wildlife.  We saw tons of gators, a deer, maybe some herons, wild horses, and a cottonmouth snake.  All of that was just to the overlook at the end, and of course all of it on the way back, too.  We even saw a super adorable baby gator!

I really enjoyed this trail and would definitely go back.  There is other hiking to do in the park as well that would probably be just as awesome.  I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for an easy morning or afternoon hike.

Helpful things:

  • Park entrance is $4 for one person and $6 for 2-8.
  • Be cautious of the alligators.  They are wild and well, alligators.
  • As always, bring water, especially in the hot and humid summer.
  • Of course, bring a camera!  There’s so much wildlife here, it’s crazy.

spotting hiking-3

Have you hiked La Chua Trail?  What did you think of it?  What is your favorite thing to do in Paynes Prairie?