Yesterday I went to Broken Arrow Bluff, a Gainesville Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs sponsored area. According to the Broken Arrow Bluff website, the entire trail is about 11 acres. The bluff is next to Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, which is a great place to visit as well. I visited this location with the expectation of seeing another trail similar to the ones I’ve visited thus far. I was entirely shocked with Broken Arrow. I would not recommend planning to run on this trail because of how steep the land is, but I would highly recommend taking a walking tour of the area.
I felt like I was in Jurassic Park at points, with huge live oak trees and an array of multi-colored birds flying around. I would highly recommend visiting. The trail is incredibly steep, and it is not marked off well. This means that it’s easy to get lost, which is exactly what happened to me. Since Broken Arrow is part of a sinkhole, the entire path is very, very steep. At the bottom of the sinkhole is a still portion of water. From far away, it looks like a green plain at the bottom. Up close, however, there is algae just sitting on the top of the water. I sat there for about 20 minutes, taking in the entire view. When I was there, I didn’t see a single movement in the water.
So why should you visit Broken Arrow? For starters, it feels like you’re in a new country. The huge rocks and sweeping trees make you forget that you’re still in Gainesville. It’s also only about 15 minutes away from campus. I personally had a good workout just by walking the trail. The steep terrain coupled with dodging tree vines made it difficult just to walk in itself. Lastly, the unique views constantly kept my mind running, even if my feet weren’t in a full sprint.
There are many benefits to visiting Broken Arrow Bluff Nature Park, but before I recommend visiting the area, I want to give you a few helpful hints. First, bring your own water bottle. I didn’t see a single station for water along the path, and since the trail is right next to foggy, still water, the humidity can really take a toll on someone visiting. Second, there is no set parking area. In fact, when you pull up next to the park, you are next to a neighborhood of houses. I parked at the base of a dead end and walked to the entrance. Third, keep track of where you are on the trail. Since there are no markers on trees, it’s incredibly easy to find yourself wandering. Thankfully I brought a friend with me, and her sense of direction was much stronger than mine.
Overall, Broken Arrow Bluff Nature Park is highly recommended if you’d like a different terrain. It’s great for power walking or hiking, but not for running. Take in the sounds of the exotic birds, and bring a friend. Don’t forget to fill up your water bottle before you go, but enjoy the free park and the silence from the outside world.
What you need to know:
– No fees to enter park
5724 SW 46th Place
– Tips: bring close-toed shoes and water as there are no fountains anywhere nearby
Here’s some photos from my visit:
To read Gainesville Rock Gym’s review of Broken Arrow, check out this link: http://tinyurl.com/pez8vmo