Ravine Gardens State Park in Palatka, FL feels like stepping into another state. On the trails you’ll encounter elevation changes, two suspension bridges, stone stairs, roots, observation platforms, and more.
But what the park is best-known for is the spectacular azalea bloom each February. Azaleas line the entire ravine, blanketing the trails with pink blossoms. The peak only lasts a week or so, but you should still see a large amount of flowers throughout most of February, and even in January and March.
The Azalea bloom is by far the busiest time of year to visit the park. There was plenty of parking during my visit, but the trails were a little crowded! If you’re looking to explore the park with a little more peace and quiet, visit in April- December.
Hiking at Ravine Gardens State Park
There are four trails you can take at the park. The Azalea Trail is the most unique and exciting trail which winds along the edge of the ravine. This 2.5 mile loop is considered strenuous, due to the elevation changes, exposed roots, narrow paths, and lots of stairs. You’ll also get to cross both suspension bridges. If you can handle the stairs, this trail is not too difficult, especially at a slow pace.
The 1.8 mile Ravine Loop Trail runs along the outside of the ravine. It’s entirely paved and you can catch views of the ravine at overlook points. There are plenty of azaleas to be seen from this trail. Keep in mind, the road is shared with cars!
At the bottom of the ravine, you can enjoy the Whitewater Path and Springs Trail, totaling about 1.4 miles. These trails are fairly easy, with minimal stairs and elevation changes. You can walk under the suspension bridge and admire the Whitewater Branch Creek and spring boils. There are a couple of side trails you can explore along the way, along with the picnic area. You can access the bottom of the ravine from the paved Ravine Loop Trail or from stairs next to the first suspension bridge.
Other Activities at Ravine Gardens State Park
Biking is allowed along the paved Ravine Loop Trail. Keep in mind, the road is shared with cars!
Historic Gardens & Structures
The park is home to five acres of formal gardens with stone terraces and water features. The front parking area of the park is home to the Court of States, stone obelisk, and beautiful fountain. The suspension bridges, many of the stone stairs, and amphitheater are also historic structures.
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