Story by: Samantha Stephenson
The Ravine Gardens State Park in Palatka, FL, is a place you are going to want to visit. It is rich in history and offers something for everyone whether you are a local or just visiting. It is one of nine state parks constructed during the New Deal and features two ravines that reach 120 feet deep, with steep banks angled at 45 degrees.
Bicyclists and motorists can admire the gardens by driving on a 1.8-mile paved road that loops inside the ravine. It is open from 8 am to sundown 365 days (about 12 months) a year. Approximately one hour before sunset, the Ravine Loop is off-limits to vehicles but still open to cyclists, pedestrians, and wheelchair users.
Ravine Gardens. Photo by Samantha Stephenson
Whether you would like to stay on the loop or immerse yourself in the trails, you can do so either by running, jogging, or hiking. The Azalea Trail, which extends 2.5 miles through the Ravine Garden State Park, is one of the park’s most popular attractions. Looking at some of these unleveled, cracked steps along the trails, you can see why it is considered physically demanding. Take a walk over the two suspension bridges and look out for azaleas on the way.
Along the way, you will notice the path featuring a playground, an amphitheater, and a workout station. Originally built in 1939 for the Miss Azalea Pageant, the amphitheater has been used for various events ever since. The park includes a gazebo with picnic tables, located along the loop.