Paynes Prairie is biologically, geologically, and historically unique. Payne's Prairie is located south of Gainesville, Florida, in Micanopy. This park became Florida´s first state preserve in 1971 and is now designated as a National Natural Landmark.
The water in this huge saucer-like basin has had a way of coming and
going because of a sinkhole in one corner. From time to time the sink
would fill with debris and the water would rise and remain. Years later
the sinkhole would become unplugged, the water would drain away and the
area would revert to savanna. In 1892 a small steamer plying the lake
was stranded when the water suddenly disappeared. Since then the basin
has remained a treeless prairie.
The trail proceeds into wetter habitats, with a drainage canal on one
side and marshes on the other, until it reaches the shallow weedy open
water of Alachua Lake, the center of the Paynes Prairie basin.
The Bolen Bluff Trail is on the south side of Paynes Prairie State
Preserve. The trail is divided into two parts. There's an upland loop,
about half of which is dry woodland dominated by laurel, live, and water
oaks while the other half is shady mesic hammock forested with swamp
chestnut oaks and magnolias; there are a few small ponds along the
latter stretch. At the far end of the loop, a spur trail, the Bolen
Bluff Dike, descends onto the Prairie basin, running through open brushy
and marshy habitats for three-quarters of a mile (one-way) to an